• Diabetes

Prevention of Diabetes

Diabetes and its complications are a serious threat to the survival and well-being of an increasing number of people. It is predicted that one in ten Europeans aged 20-79 will have developed diabetes by 2030. Diabetes accounts for up to 18 % of total healthcare expenditure in Europe.

Diabetes can be prevented

Compelling evidence shows that the onset of diabetes can be prevented or delayed greatly in individuals at high risk (people with impaired glucose regulation). Clinical research has shown a reduction in risk of developing diabetes of over 50 % following relatively modest changes in lifestyle that include adopting a healthy diet, increasing physical activity, and maintaining a healthy body weight.

Risk factors:
– overweight and obesity
– unhealthy diet and
– lack of physical activity and long sitting periods
– smoking
– alcohol consumption

Diabetes appears as a result of interaction between genes and lifestyle. More than half of European adults can be classified as overweight or obese persons.

What causes Diabetes?

Diabetes is caused by the inability of the body’s cells to react to insulin and therefore body tissues absorb less blood glucose (“insulin resistance”). To compensate for this, the pancreas produces and secretes more insulin to purify blood glucose from circulation. Over time, the pancreas weakens and is unable to produce enough insulin to meet the body’s needs. This causes high blood glucose (hyperglycemia) and therefore Diabetes appears.

High number of undiagnosed Diabetes

Diabetes usually takes several years to be developed and in most cases there is no sign of disease. Hence, there is a great number of people having Diabetes and not being aware thereof.

Complications of late diagnosis

Diabetes is a serious disease. In case of improper diagnosis and treatment, it can lead to serious and costly complications such as: cardiovascular diseases, neuropathy, diabetic foot syndrome, limb amputation, kidney damage and blindness. High blood sugar levels (Hyperglycemia) also increase the risk of heart diseases and blood vessels (Cardiovascular) and worsen the disease of oral gum (Parodontosis).

The costs to healthcare system and to the society

The longer the disease lasts, the more likely you will have costly complications. In European countries, Diabetes accounts for 18% of total health care expenditure. Having an aging population, the likelihood is that these costs will increase if the number of patients is not reduced. In addition, the costs resulting from society unproductivity may even be five times more than the direct health care costs. Likewise, diabetes has a major impact on the quality of life of the patients and their families.

Evidence from international studies

Various studies conducted in Finland, Sweden, USA, China, India and Japan have verified that lifestyle interventions can stop or at least delay the first signs of diabetes at high-risk individuals Therefore, the key to prevent diabetes is lifestyle changes, such as weight reduction, increased physical activity and healthy nutrition.

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