Five million died of diabetes in 2015

24 November 2016 | Gesondheid
Merike Heath

According to the 2015 International Diabetes Federation (IDF) data it was estimated that five million people died from diabetes in 2015.

Even more than those who died from Aids (1.5 million), TB (1.5 million) and malaria (0.6 million) in 2013. Worldwide 415 million people are currently diagnosed and living with diabetes. In Africa, more than two-thirds of people with diabetes, are unaware that they have it. A little closer to home, 4% to 6% of Namibia''s population between the ages of 20 and 79 years are diag­nosed.

Someone with diabetes presents with high blood glucose because of two reasons. His/her body is either not producing enough insulin or the body cannot respond to insulin properly. Insulin is a hormone responsible for the uptake of glucose from the bloodstream to be used as energy in the cells. If glucose is not absorbed it remains in the bloodstream resulting in hyperglycemia. Prolonged hyperglycemia causes severe damage to blood vessels and body tissues and ultimately leads to blindness, kidney disease, heart failure and amputations. Regular eye exams and medical check-ups are crucial. There are three main types of diabetes namely:

Type 1 diabetes (T1DM)

Typically affects younger persons, has a sudden onset and is caused by an autoimmune response attacking the insulin producing cells in the pancreas. These patients are totally dependent on insulin for their survival and babies as young as 1 year gets diag­nosed.

Type 2 diabetes (T2DM)

Affects mostly adults, but younger and younger persons are being diagnosed due to childhood obesity and inactive lifestyles. This can often be managed by lifestyle and dietary changes.

Gestational ­diabetes

Appears during pregnancy and can have serious health risks for mom and baby. Having had this also increases the future risk for both to develop Type 2 diabetes later in life.

The biggest concern facing Namibia is maybe not diabetes itself, but rather the lack of knowledge, the unawareness and the ignorance of her people.

The Namibia Diabetes Lifestyle Foundation made it its aim to raise awareness about diabetes and to support underprivileged children with T1DM to afford their insulin.

Costs for a Type 1 diabetic can reach N$1 700 and more per month, which, without medical aid, is not easy to attain. Type 1 diabetics need their insulin every day. No amount of healthy eating or exer­cise will ever eliminate the need for insulin.

World Diabetes Awareness Month is during November. The theme for 2016 is ''Eyes on Diabetes'' and on Friday 11 November Luka Optics decided to help sell stickers and merchandise to raise over N$4 500 for Type 1 diabetes children. Luka Optics wishes to thank everyone who made a contribution to raise this amount.

The truth, however, is that more funds are needed.

There are currently 12 underprivileged children being assisted with insulin by the Namibian Diabetes Lifestyle Foundation, which cost about N$17 500 per month. This does not include food, school fees and travelling expenses to see their doctors. These children depend on the assistance­ from the foundation to survive.

Luka Optics wishes to encourage Namib­ians to think of especially­ the health of Namibian children, the future and continue to donate to: Namib­ian Diabetes Lifestyle Foundation, FNB account 62249942914, branch code 208871.

For more information contact: Susan Grobler, GM of the Namibian Dia­betes Lifestyle Foundation at 081 357 4441 or [email protected] Visit


Fast Facts

• About 85% of all persons with diabetes have T2DM.

• The IDF estimated that 193 million people with diabetes are un­diagnosed (2015).

• 1 in 15 adults have impaired glucose tolerance.

• 1 in 7 births are affected by gestational diabetes.

• 1 in 11 adults have ­diabetes.

• 1 in 2 adults with diabetes is undiagnosed.

• Worldwide 215.2 million men have diabetes, and 199.5 million women.

• T1DM increases by 3% every year.

• In 2015 the number of children with T1DM exceeded half a million for the first time.

Type 1 children need on average 1460 insulin shots a year to stay alive.



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