• By Deb Balzer

World Health Day: Diabetes Is a Global Issue

April 7, 2016

World Health Day image of stethoscope "listening" to a globe, the world

More than 422 million adults live with diabetes — nearly four times as many since 1980, according to the first global report on diabetes by the World Health Organization. The report's release coincides with World Health Day. It says half of those with diabetes live in China, India, U.S., Brazil and Indonesia. In the U.S., 22 million Americans have either Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes.

Rates of pediatric diabetes, once rare, have increased. Mayo Clinic pediatric endocrinologist Dr. Seema Kumar says childhood obesity is a now a worldwide issue that results in adulthood onset diseases such as diabetes and high cholesterol. She says it's been clearly shown that losing 5 to 10 pounds can help prevent these complications.


Listen to Dr. Seema Kumar.

There are two forms of diabetes: Type 1, which cannot be prevented, and Type 2, which is potentially preventable with lifestyle modification. Health officials say early diagnosis and intervention are key.

Symptoms of Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes include:

  • Increased thirst
  • Frequent urination
  • Extreme hunger
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Presence of ketones in the urine (ketones are a byproduct of the breakdown of muscle and fat that happens when there's not enough available insulin)
  • Fatigue
  • Irritability
  • Blurred vision
  • Slow-healing sores
  • Frequent infections, such as gums or skin infections and vaginal infections

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