New Campaign Launched to Fight Global Rise in Diabetes

Experts predict that 350 million could be diabetic by 2026

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SATURDAY, June 10, 2006 (HealthDay News) -- Saturday marks the launch of a worldwide campaign against what experts are calling an "epidemic" of diabetes.

"Unite for Diabetes," sponsored by the International Diabetes Federation (IDF), is an initiative to raise awareness of the worldwide increase in diabetes. The disease currently affects more than 230 million people worldwide -- nearly 6 percent of the global adult population.

"Diabetes is emerging fast as one of the biggest health catastrophes the world has ever seen. The diabetes epidemic will overwhelm healthcare resources everywhere if governments do not wake up and take action now," Martin Silink, president-elect of IDF, said in a prepared statement.

Within 20 years, diabetes is predicted to affect 350 million people unless the trend is reversed. As diabetes is growing at an even higher rate in developing countries, IDF predictions state that such countries will have almost 80 percent of the world's diabetes cases by the year 2025.

The World Health Organization predicts that life expectancy will decrease worldwide for the first time in 200 years because of diabetes, and death rates are expected to rise by 25 percent.

"The international community needs to start taking the threat seriously. We must join forces in our fight against diabetes, otherwise we will jeopardize the health and lives of millions," said Pierre Lefebvre, president of IDF. "Diabetes can be effectively managed, its impact reduced, and its onset in many cases prevented completely."

Although type 1 diabetes is not a preventable disease, type 2 -- which affects about 95 percent of diabetics -- is. With lifestyle modifications, including dietary restrictions and exercise, it is estimated that 80 percent of all type 2 cases are preventable.

More information

The American Diabetes Association has more information on preventing and treating diabetes.

SOURCES: International Diabetes Federation, news release, June 10, 2006

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