A global study by the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) has found that many patients don’t know they have type 2 diabetes, usually due to lack of early screening.
Very few people take adequate treatment, with almost one in two (46 per cent) patients still undiagnosed among the estimated 415 million adults living with diabetes across the globe.
The report, which has been published today by IDF, is part of this year’s “Eyes on Diabetes” theme of World Diabetes Day.
The latest figures indicate a need for systematic efforts to better detect those with type 2 diabetes, as well as screen diagnosed patients for complications.
Another recently released international study has highlighted that 25 per cent of people living with diabetes don’t get annual eye exams, increasing the risk for vision loss from retinopathy.
Early use of combination therapies and widening access to tools that help identify people with undiagnosed type 2 diabetes may be required to slow disease progression and prevent further rises in new cases.
There are a number of known risk factors for type 2 diabetes, such as body composition, family history and an inactive lifestyle, that can be detected by many risk assessment scores.
In addition to that, preventative medicine centred around the prescription of lifestyle interventions, like the adoption of a balanced diet, will play an important role in helping to reduce risks.
The use of mobile devices with diabetes management apps may also help support testing and long-term management of diabetes.
A recent European survey has shown that 42 per cent of people with diabetes are using their smartphones for health or prescription drug information, and that 52 per cent of those on a health or wellness app say they have changed their behaviour as a result.
On the occasion of this World Diabetes Day, a simple risk assessment form has been made available on the World Diabetes Day website, and basic education and information about diabetes can be accessed on IDF’s newly launched online School of Diabetes.
This year’s World Diabetes Day also marks the 125th birthday of the father of insulin, Frederick Banting.

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