Diabetes: A disease that’s largely preventable

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Fast facts

* More than 371 million people have diabetes.

* Half of people with diabetes are undiagnosed.

* 4.8 million people died due to diabetes.

* More than 471 billion USD were spent on healthcare for diabetes.

* 366 million people have diabetes in 2011; by 2030 this will have risen to 552 million

* The number of people with type 2 diabetes is increasing in every country

* 80 percent of people with diabetes live in low- and middle-income countries

* The greatest number of people with diabetes are between 40 to 59 years of age

* 183 million people (50%) with diabetes are undiagnosed

* Diabetes caused 4.6 million deaths in 2011

* Diabetes caused at least USD 465 billion dollars in healthcare expenditures in 2011; 11 percent of total healthcare expenditures in adults (20-79 years)

* 78,000 children develop type 1 diabetes every year

With the start of Diabetes Awareness Month today, the Ministry of Health and Seniors is undertaking an Island-wide survey to determine how many people have, or are at risk of, developing diabetes and other chronic diseases.

The announcement comes from Dr Annabell Fountain, Vice Chairman of the Diabetes Association, who said Bermuda has “the highest rate of lower limb amputations [due to diabetes] in the developed world.

“This data will give us the true picture of diabetes on the island and how many people are at risk of developing diabetes,” she said.

According to Dr Fountain, Bermuda has “a disproportionately high number of people on dialysis and this number has doubled in the last decade. We have a large number of people who are blind due to diabetic eye disease and over 80% of our healthcare costs are on complications of chronic diseases including heart disease and stroke to which diabetes contributes significantly.

“Bermuda, like so many other countries around the world, is in the middle of one of the biggest and costliest epidemics ever seen which for the most part is preventable. We estimate that more than 12% of Bermuda’s population has diabetes.

“Bermuda is not alone. Across the Caribbean, in Central and South America and certainly in North America everyone is alarmed at the rise in diabetes as well as obesity. The problem has started to even affect our children.”

Efforts to curb the rise is Type 2 diabetes are being undertaken by the Bermuda Diabetes Association in collaboration with the departments of Health and Education, she said.

The BDA is introducing more activities into the school day, including policies to ensure healthy eating; changing the food offered in school cafeterias; getting rid of sugary drinks; and encouraging children to exercise more and to be less sedentary.

“These diseases and complications are largely preventable. By making healthy lifestyle choices such as increasing exercise and reducing the added sugars in your diet, you can significantly reduce your risk of diabetes and its devastating effects.

“The Bermuda Department of Health produced Guidelines for Management of Diabetes in 2009. Regular monitoring with your physician, podiatrist and eye specialist is key to maintaining good diabetes control to stay healthy,” added Dr Fountain.

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Published Nov 1, 2013 at 8:00 am (Updated Oct 31, 2013 at 11:16 pm)

Diabetes: A disease that’s largely preventable

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