THEME: The Nurse and Diabetes


  • 1 in 11 adults (463 million) were living with diabetes in 2019 which is expected to rise to 578 million by 2030.
  • 1 in 2 adult (232 million) with diabetes remain undiagnosed.
  • The majority have type 2 diabetes.
  • More than 3 in 4 people with diabetes live in low and middle-income countries.
  • 1 in 6 live births (20 million) are affected by high blood glucose (hyperglycemia) in pregnancy.
  • Two-thirds of people with diabetes live in urban areas and three-quarters are of working age.
  • 1 in 5 people (136 million) are above 65 years old.
  • Diabetes caused 4.2 million deaths in 2019.
  • Diabetes was responsible for at least $760 billion in health expenditure in 2019- 10% of the global total spent on healthcare.

What is Diabetes?

A chronic disease that occurs when the pancreas is no longer able to make insulin, or when the body cannot make good use of the insulin it produces. There are three main types of diabetes:

  • Type-1 diabetes; caused by an autoimmune reaction in which the body’s immune system attacks the insulin-producing beta cells of the pancreas. As a result, the body produces very little or no insulin.
  • Type-2 diabetes; the most common type of diabetes. Initially, hyperglycemia (high blood glucose levels) is the result of the inability of the body’s cells to respond fully to insulin, a situation termed ‘insulin resistance’.
  • Gestational diabetes (GDM); characterized by high blood glucose levels during pregnancy. It may occur at any time during pregnancy (although most likely after week 24) and usually disappears after the pregnancy.

What are the causes/risk factors for diabetes?

  • The causes of Type 1 diabetes, while not known, may be diverse such as autoimmune, genetic or environmental.
  • Risk factors for Type 2 diabetes are overweight/obesity, family history of diabetes, tobacco use, and excess alcohol intake, prior history of gestational diabetes, impaired glucose tolerance and physical inactivity.

What are the symptoms of diabetes?

  • Type 1 diabetes: Symptoms include frequent urination (polyuria), excessive •thirst (polydipsia), constant hunger, weight loss, very dry skin, vision changes and fatigue.
  • Type 2 diabetes: Symptoms may be similar to those of Type 1 diabetes, but •are often less marked. As a result, the disease may be diagnosed several years after onset, once complications have already arisen. Impaired glucose tolerance and impaired fasting glycaemia are intermediate conditions and risk categories for future development of diabetes.

What can be done do control and prevent diabetes?

The cause of Type 1 diabetes is not known and is not preventable in the present time. Simple lifestyle measures are effective in preventing or delaying the onset of Type 2 diabetes.


Individuals can imply following measures:

  • Achieve and maintain a healthy body weight
  • Being physically active for at least 30 minutes performing regular, moderate activity.
  • Eat a healthy diet of three to five servings of fruit and vegetables a day and reduce sugar and saturated fats intake.
  • Quit tobacco and alcohol use.
  • Test blood glucose regularly.
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