Diabetes is a chronic condition that occurs when the body does not produce enough insulin to keep blood glucose levels steady. High blood glucose levels (also known as high blood sugar) can lead to many complications, including blindness and heart failure, so it is essential to manage the condition properly.
According to the International Diabetes Federation (IDF), 366 million people (8.5% of the global adult population) are living with diabetes, and a further 280 million have impaired glucose tolerance (IGT), which can lead to diabetes.
Approximately 3.6 million of these live in South Africa, although only 1.9 million have been diagnosed and are receiving treatment. One of the country’s greatest healthcare challenges is therefore to educate the population about diabetes, so that no-one suffers unnecessarily or dies because they are ignorant of the condition or because they are not receiving the appropriate treatment for it.
There are three types of diabetes, namely Type 1, Type 2 and Gestational Diabetes.