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World Diabetes Day is part of a global campaign led by the International Diabetes Federation to raise aware of the issue. 

Diabetes occurs when the body does not respond correctly to the hormone insulin. Produced by the pancreas, insulin affects the way glucose and fat are metabolised; some people do not produce enough insulin, and some people produce insulin that does not work properly. Insulin helps to regulate blood glucose levels, and if this fails it can lead to serious complications, including blindness, kidney failure, nerve damage, cardiovascular disease, and the need for limb amputation. Diabetes can also affect mental health owing to the effect of varied blood sugar levels on mood and the pressure caused by a fear of complications such as hypoglycaemia and the need to manage the condition.

In 2015, diabetes was estimated to have caused more deaths (5.0 million) than the combined number of annual deaths from HIV/AIDS (1.2 million), tuberculosis (1.5 million), and malaria (0.4 million). Diabetes prevalence has risen globally since 1980 and this rise has been related to both population growth and ageing populations, with the number of adults with diabetes increasing from 108 million in 1980 to 422 million in 2014.

This briefing provides an overview of the diabetes, data on its prevalence and information on recent government policy to tackle the condition.

Documents to download

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