Diabetes affects about 350 mn adults globally

The number of adults with diabetes reached a staggering 347 million in 2008, more than double the number in 1980, according to a major international study.

Diabetes occurs when the cells of the body are not able to take up sugar in the form of glucose. As a consequence, the amount of glucose in the blood is higher than normal.

Over time, this raises the risk of heart disease and stroke, and can also cause damage to kidneys, nerves and retinas, reports the journal, The Lancet.

The study, the largest of its kind on diabetes, was carried out by a global team led by Majid Ezzati, a professor from Imperial College, London and co-led by Goodarz Danaei from the Harvard School of Public Health, in collaboration with the World Health Organization (WHO) and other institutions.

Funding for the study came from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the WHO, according to an Imperial College statement.

High blood glucose and diabetes are responsible for over three million deaths worldwide each year.

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Image: Flickr Creativecommons Melissa