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In Mauritius, for example, statistics show that 17% of the population are diabetic. However the IDF suggests that the figure may be closer to 24%, an extremely high prevalence.Africa has about 7 million diabetics at the moment. However the WHO (World Health Organisation) predicts that this figure will have increased to more than 18 million by 2030. This astonishing rate of increase is being blamed on a growing reliance on processed foods.
According to the WHO, many people in Africa do not know they have the condition and thus are not being treated. As a result, in some parts of Africa, diabetes is responsible for more than four-fifths of deaths.
In Mexico, over a third of the deaths of people aged 35 to74 years can be attributed to diabetes, according to a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine.The most commonly used medication to control diabetes in Mexico is sulphonylureas, used by nearly 70 percent.
The participants included diabetics and non-diabetics aged 35 or older at the start of the study. They were monitored over 12 years and the mortality rates of those with diabetes were compared to the rates for the non-diabetics. The mortality rate for diabetics was 35 percent which is extremely high.Nearly all the participants were type 2 diabetics. The researchers attributed the excess deaths to poorly controlled diabetes. There are at least two possible reasons for this lack of control. Only 20 percent of Mexican diabetics use metformin. Sulphonylureas lower blood glucose levels effectively by stimulating the pancreas to release more insulin.