NL|07 – 22 April 2016
Diabetes: a global epidemic
affecting 422 million people and constantly on the rise
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has dedicated the World Health Day 2016, celebrated on April 7th, to the Health emergency diabetes, with the aim of increasing prevention, reinforcing care and improving monitoring.
According to the global report by WHO, 422 million adults live with the disease in the world and there has been a sharp rise in the number of those affected, a four-fold increase compared to 108 million in 1980. Diabetes is also rife in Italy, with around 4 million cases diagnosed and a further million people who are unaware they have the disease. As regards victims of the disease, it should be remembered that diabetes caused 1.5 million deaths in 2012 alone. A further 2.2 million deaths were caused by blood glucose levels above optimal levels and the consequent exacerbation of cardiovascular and other diseases.
The number has increased sharply due to the rise in obesity and excess weight. According to WHO experts, measures to implement in order to curb the spread of this disease must above focus on reducing diabetes risk factors, such as physical inactivity and bad nutrition. Most cases of type 2 diabetes, 90% in total and increasingly common among children, can be prevented or delayed with simple lifestyle interventions (diet and physical activity). Early diagnosis, knowing how to control and manage the disease, also makes it possible to prevent complications.
However even if dietary excess and physical inactivity are increasingly widespread, the presence of potentially diabetes-causing substances in the air we breathe, what we eat and drink, irrespective of calories, has been largely confirmed.
Therefore diabetes has assumed pandemic proportions, it is rapidly spreading not only in industrialised countries but also among low to medium-income ones too and by 2030 it will become the seventh cause of death at a global level.
If we fail to curb its growth and prevent complications, this will become a health and economic emergency: care for people with diabetics already absorbs nearly 15% of National Health Fund (around 16 billion euros per year in real costs and not virtual tariffs).