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Diabetes is a chronic disease in which the body does not make enough or properly use insulin, a hormone that is needed to convert sugar, starches and other food into energy. People with diabetes have increased blood sugar levels because they lack insulin, have insufficient insulin or are resistant to insulin’s effects. Medications may be taken or insulin injections may be used to help control the disease. Neither insulin nor other medications, are cures for diabetes.

Poor control can lead to heart disease, stroke or kidney failure. One of the complications of diabetes is sensory loss that may result in amputation of limbs or cause of blindness. Additionally, diabetes in pregnancy may give rise to several adverse outcomes, including congenital malformations, increased birth weight and an elevated risk of prenatal mortality. Diabetes occurs when fasting levels of blood glucose exceed 7.0 mmol/l.

This study estimates the burden of disease attributable to Type 2 diabetes directly and indirectly as a risk factor by sex and specific age groups in South Africa in 2000. View the results. (pdf format, 282 kb)

Diabetes shares many of the risk factors associated with cardiovascular diseases. Read more about research and policy of the chronic diseases of lifestyle in South Africa, the global burden and the newly formed 3FOUR50 Health Alliance to reduce the burden of these diseases.


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