422 Million Worldwide Now Diabetic, Says WHO

Apr 08, 2016 04:49 AM EDT | By Mark Jason Alcala

Newark Offers Free Health Screenings For Homeless
NEWARK, NJ - AUGUST 13: A mans finger is pricked to test his cholesterol at the City of Newark's free homeless health fair at the Department of Child and Family Well-Being on August 13, 2009 in Newark, New Jersey. The Department of Child and Family Well-Being in partnership with other health organizations gave free medical examinations to the homeless including screening for high blood pressure, cancer, and diabetes.
(Photo : Photo by Rick Gershon/Getty Images)

Recently revealed worldwide figures on diabetes show a grim picture of the disease' grip on the world's population. The World Health Organization (WHO) announced that 422 million are diabetic in 2014 which show the sharp rise of the disease according to an Associated Press article in Wate.com.

The latest figure is an almost fourfold increase in worldwide cases of diabetes in only 25 years. This shows the disease' prevalence in recent years times which is attributed to the equally rising obesity rates, weight issues, aging and population explosion.

WHO blamed the sharp rise in the consumption of sugar-laden food and beverages, the same culprits being blamed for the worldwide rise in obesity rates. According to the UN health agency, diabetes cases increase worldwide but the increase is more pronounced among lower- and middle-income population. Regionally, Africa, the Middle East and Asia experienced the sharpest rise of diabetes cases. In particular, the "Eastern Mediterranean" region is the only region worldwide which experienced a double-digit rise of the disease where 13.7 percent of the population is now diabetic.

According to the International Diabetes Federation (IDF), diabetes is a chronic disease and results when the pancreas cannot make enough insulin or when the body cannot utilize the insulin effectively (insulin resistance). Insulin, a hormone produced by the pancreas, acts as the key that allows entry of glucose from the blood into the cells for energy production and, in effect, helps regulate glucose level in the blood.

If the body cannot regulate the blood glucose level, either by its inability to produce enough insulin or its ineffective use of it, a significantly raised blood sugar level (hyperglycemia) ensues. Left untreated, the high blood glucose level eventually leads to damage of the body and the failure of various organs and tissues.

The WHO, in its "Global Report on Diabetes" says the disease caused 1.5 million deaths in 2012 in addition to 2.2 million deaths in related diseases caused by high blood glucose level such as cardiovascular disease.

The UN health agency calls for countries to allocate resources to find ways of preventing diabetes among their populations and prioritize actions against obesity. This highlights the difficulty of solving the global problems of diabetes and obesity due to the prevalence and accessibility of processed food worldwide.

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