1.5 million deaths directly attributed to diabetes every year: WHO

On World Diabetes Day, WHO has called for increased access to quality diabetes education for health and care workers, the public, and people living with diabetes as part of efforts to achieve access for all to quality, affordable diabetes care. Globally, around 422 million people have diabetes, and 1.5 million deaths are directly attributed to diabetes every year. In the WHO South-East Asia Region, more than 96 million people are estimated to have diabetes, and another 96 million to be pre-diabetic, causing at least 600 000 deaths annually. By 2045, unless urgent action is taken, the prevalence of diabetes in the Region is expected to increase by 68%.

Diabetes is a chronic metabolic disease that if detected late, or improperly managed, can lead to serious and life-threatening damage to the heart, blood vessels, eyes, kidneys and nerves. The risk of type 2 diabetes can be reduced through regular and adequate physical activity, healthy eating, and by avoiding tobacco and harmful use of alcohol. If developed, type 2 diabetes can be managed through medication, control of blood pressure and lipids, and adherence to a healthy lifestyle. Type 1 diabetes, which affects more than 250 000 children and adolescents in the Region, cannot currently be prevented but can be managed. For people living with both types of diabetes, access to affordable treatment – including insulin – is critical to their survival.

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