Your Health


Diabetes: An overview

Diabetes is a disease characterized by elevated levels of blood glucose/sugar. It occurs when the pancreas does not produce enough of the insulin hormone, which regulates blood sugar, or when the body cannot effectively use the insulin it produces. In either of these conditions, diabetes can lead to complications in many parts of the body and increase the risk of premature death. Diabetes is a chronic disease; however it is a progressive non-communicable disease (NCD).

According to World Health Organization (WHO), 422 million adults live with diabetes, which is an increase of nearly four times since 1980. Today 1 person in 11 suffers from diabetes, with the largest affected population present in developing countries. This number is likely to more than double in the next 20 years.



  • Type 1: Cause is unknown and people living with it require daily insulin administration for survival.
  • Type 2: Accounts for the vast majority of people living with diabetes globally, and is largely the result of excess body weight and low physical activity. It is now increasingly occurring in children and young people.
  • Gestational diabetes: Temporary condition that occurs during pregnancy and carries long-term risk of type 2 diabetes. It is present when blood glucose levels are above normal but still below those required for a diagnosis of diabetes.


The American Diabetes Association’s list of common symptoms of diabetes include:

  • Frequent urination
  • Excessive thirst
  • Excessive hunger
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Blurry vision
  • Cuts/bruises that are slow to heal
  • Weight loss despite eating more (type 1)
  • Tingling, pain, or numbness in the hands/feet (type 2)


How to Reduce Diabetes Risk Factors

Recent studies suggest that consuming a high quality plant-based diet which includes components like whole grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts and legumes is linked with a substantially reduced risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

Expanding health-promoting environments can reduce diabetes risk factors such as physical inactivity and unhealthy diets.