Features — 29 November 2013 — by Albert J. Ciego

About 44,715 people, or 13.42% of the population of Belize, are living with diabetes. The statistic was released by the International Diabetes Federation. The Diabetes Federation also revealed that about 382 million people had diabetes in 2013, and by 2035, 592 million people will be suffering with the disease.

The number of people with Type 2 diabetes is also increasing in every country. Eighty percent of people with diabetes live in low- and middle-income countries, with the greatest number being within the 40 to 59 age range.

It has been reported that more people in Belize die from diabetes than from violence yearly.

There are two types of diabetes, Type 1 and Type 2. Type 1 diabetes is called insulin dependent diabetes mellitus, and surfaces in its sufferers from early in life (childhood or adolescence). People suffering with Type 1 diabetes show a complete lack of the insulin hormone, and insulin must be taken regularly as treatment.

The majority of diabetes sufferers — about 75%— however, have Type 2 diabetes mellitus, or non-insulin dependent diabetes mellitus (NIDDM), or maturity-onset diabetes mellitus. In cases of Type 2 diabetes, not enough insulin is produced, or the insulin that is made by the body is insufficient to meet the needs of the body. Obesity or being overweight predisposes a person to Type 2 diabetes.

Type 1 diabetes can develop quickly, over weeks or even days, whereas Type 2 diabetes develops gradually.

Some symptoms of diabetes include increased thirst, increased hunger and increased frequency of urination. In addition, patients complain of feeling very tired and suffer weight loss and loss of muscle bulk.

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