According to The New York Times diabetes continues to evolve as one of the major health problems facing the global community. In fact, the International Diabetes Federation cites a jump of 200 million more afflicted individuals over the past two decades. Marc Santora reports:
There are many factors driving the growth in diabetes worldwide, but most experts agree that changes in lifestyle and diet are the chief culprits, in addition to genetic predisposition. As developing countries rapidly industrialize, people tend to do work involving less physical activity. At the same time, the availability of food that is cheap but high in calories becomes more common.
The combination causes weight gain, which leads to greater risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, the most common form of the disease.
The other form, Type 1, is responsible for only 5 percent to 10 percent of cases, and is not associated with behavior, but rather is believed to stem almost entirely from genetic factors. In either form, diabetes is characterized by high blood sugar levels that result from the body's inability to make or use insulin, which can lead to a host of complications that include kidney failure and blindness.
"Diabetes is one of the biggest health catastrophes the world has ever seen," said Dr. Martin Silink, the president-elect of the International Diabetes Federation.
"The diabetes epidemic will overwhelm health care resources everywhere if governments do not wake up now and take action."