In the Americas, some 10% of the adult population—nearly 63 million people—have diabetes, but an estimated 44% of them don’t know it.
On World Diabetes Day yesterday, the Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO), Regional Office of the World Health Organisation (WHO), encouraged people throughout the Americas to learn about the risks and warning signs of diabetes, to take steps to prevent the disease, and, if they develop diabetes, to seek the care they need.
“Understanding diabetes is the first step toward prevention, diagnosis and treatment,” said Dr. Alberto Barceló, PAHO/WHO advisor on noncommunicable diseases. “World Diabetes Day is a once-a-year opportunity to raise awareness and reduce the impact of one of the world’s fastest-growing health problem, which is reaching epidemic proportions.”
Often called a “silent disease”, diabetes can develop in people without initially producing symptoms. If not properly managed, diabetes can lead to serious complications, including heart, kidney, vision, and circulatory problems that can lead to permanent disability or even premature death. Diabetes can be prevented or delayed, however, with lifestyle changes.