Type 2 Diabetes Increasing at Alarming Speed in Low-Income Countries



The dramatic rise of Type 2 diabetes among the world’s poorest people is linked to a rise in obesity, according to a new study conducted by the British medical journal The Lancet.


Diabetes causes a person to have high blood glucose (blood sugar) either because the body does not produce a hormone called insulin, or because the body’s cells do not respond properly to insulin. Over time, high blood sugar can damage the heart, blood vessels, eyes, kidneys and nerves. In Type 1 diabetes, the body does not produce insulin, but in type 2 diabetes the body can’t effectively use the insulin it produces. If untreated, either type of diabetes can lead to life-threatening health problems.


Why has the rate of diabetes skyrocketed globally by almost half in the last two decades? Increased cases of Type 2 diabetes have been driven by aging, urbanization, economic development, and the adoption of unhealthy lifestyles. This phenomenon, once characteristic of wealthy nations, has spread to developing countries at breakneck speed.


For years the most urgent need in low-income countries has been to treat infectious diseases such as malaria and tuberculosis. These have declined sharply. However, the number of cases of noncommunicable diseases such as diabetes and cancer are growing rapidly in underserved countries, and the health systems are not geared to treat them.


WiRED International offers almost 20 different educational modules in our series on diabetes, including an overview, courses for different target audiences, guides to healthy eating, and segments on how diabetes affects the heart, eyes, skin and feet.


Check out WiRED’s diabetes modules and learn more about this devastating disease.


See a recent story spotlighting diabetes as a noncommunicable disease.







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