Diabetes impacts an estimated 425 million people around the world, and that number is projected to rise to 693 million by 2045, according to the annual diabetes atlas released today by the International Diabetes Federation (IDF).
Diabetes develops as a result of having too much sugar in the blood. Over time, that imbalance can cause serious and costly health problems including heart disease, stroke, kidney disease and eye problems. The IDF diabetes atlas estimates that the world spends more than $720 billion on health care expenditures related to the disease.
November 14 marks World Diabetes Day – a day to raise awareness of the growing diabetes epidemic and the need for a cure as well as improved prevention and treatment methods.
Here are just a few examples of how Massachusetts General Hospital researchers are working to advance diabetes research and care:
- Investigators have reason to believe that a vaccine originally used to treat tuberculosis could provide new hope for patients with type 1 diabetes.
- People with type 2 diabetes are particularly prone to ulcers on the bottom of the foot, which can increase the risk of death and often result in a major amputation. Ulcers take months to heal, but a new discovery about mature B lymphocytes – best known for producing antibodies – could hasten wound recovery.
- Researchers have developed a new method for measuring blood sugar levels in diabetes patients that could reduce testing errors by 50 percent.
- Treatment guidelines for patients with type 1 diabetes have long called for yearly eye exams. But is there an alternative to this one-size-fits-all approach that could reduce patient burden and costs while providing a quicker diagnosis? Findings from a recent study lend insight into a possible new eye screening protocol.
- Check out the Mass General Diabetes Unit, which seeks to advance the care of people with diabetes nearby and worldwide. U.S. News & World Report ranks Mass General Diabetes & Endocrinology among the best in the nation.