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Br J Nurs. 2007 Sep 13-27;16(16):1002-7.

An epidemiological overview of diabetes across the world.

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  • 1Adult Nursing, Allerton Building, University of Salford, Salford.


Once the Cinderella of chronic diseases, diabetes mellitus is now fast emerging as one of the biggest health catastrophes the world has ever witnessed. Almost 6% of the world's adult population now live with diabetes (Sicree et al, 2003; International Federation of Diabetes, 2006). It has been predicted that the total number of people with diabetes will rise to 366 million in less than 30 years if preventative action is not taken (Wild et al, 2004). Diabetes is no longer a concern of an individual country. It has huge global and societal implications, particularly in developing countries where the development of diabetes at an early age can lead to untoward human suffering, disability and socioeconomic cost. An internationally coordinated effort is required to improve human behaviour and lifestyle to halt the global diabetes epidemic and the development of such complications as retinopathy, nephropathy, neuropathy, cardiovascular diseases, peripheral vascular diseases and stroke. For such a formula to be successful, it is important for nurses to be proactive in their political role in ensuring that people with diabetes become expert in their condition. In so doing, healthcare systems and resources could be used more effectively to reduce real human and economic costs.

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