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Global diabetes rate quadruples in last 25 years

In a major report, released to coincide with World Health Day on Thursday (07Apr16), WHO warns cases of diabetes had almost quadrupled to 422 million in 2014 from 108 million in 1980.

"If we are to make any headway in halting the rise in diabetes, we need to rethink our daily lives: to eat healthily, be physically active, and avoid excessive weight gain", said Dr. Margaret Chan, WHO Director-General, in a statement.

It found that between 1980 and 2014, diabetes has become more common among men than women, and rates of diabetes rose significantly in many low and middle income countries, including China, India, Indonesia, Pakistan, Egypt and Mexico. Glucose, in turn, is the body's blood sugar, which is needed for immediate energy as well as storage of energy in the muscles and fat cells for later use.

Complications of diabetes can lead to heart attacks, strokes, blindness, kidney failure and lower limb amputation.

In 2012, about 1.5 million died due to diabetes, while prediabetes caused an additional of 2.2 million deaths.

However, Jiang Xia, president of the Tianjin Diabetes Prevention and Control Association, says many of those adults don't even know they have the disease.

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The HPA said it has launched a Diabetes Shared Care Program in 22 cities and counties across the nation, bringing in specialized and certified medical teams to treat and follow-up on patients with diabetes, giving them periodic examinations, including glycated hemoglobin, fasting lipid profile, microalbumin tests and fundus photography.

The first World Health Day occurred in 1950 and since then there has been a different theme each year.

More than one in three adults aged older than 18 were overweight while more than one in 10 were obese.

Diabetes is a chronic, progressive noncommunicable disease (NCD) characterized by elevated levels of blood glucose (blood sugar).

"The rates are very high, surprisingly high", UCLA researcher Susan Babey told CBS News last month. Every year the World Health Organisation selects a priority area of global public health concern to increase awareness and share knowledge.

The WHO report said the organization is updating its guidelines on fat and carbohydrate intake, but said adults can reduce their risk of type 2 diabetes through regular exercise and a healthy diet that cuts back on sugary foods.

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