14. November 2016 marks World Diabetes Day. This years theme -Eyes on Diabetes- is a reminder, that diabetes is among the leading causes of blindness and visual impairment.

What is diabetes?

Diabetes is a chronic, metabolic disease characterized by elevated levels of blood glucose (or blood sugar), which leads over time to serious damage to the heart, blood vessels, eyes, kidneys, and nerves. The most common is type 2 diabetes, usually in adults, which occurs when the body becomes resistant to insulin or doesn't make enough insulin. In the past three decades the prevalence of type 2 diabetes has risen dramatically in countries of all income levels. Type 1 diabetes, once known as juvenile diabetes or insulin-dependent diabetes, is a chronic condition in which the pancreas produces little or no insulin by itself. For people living with diabetes, access to affordable treatment, including insulin, is critical to their survival. There is a globally agreed target to halt the rise in diabetes and obesity by 2025. 

About the diabetes WHO programme

The mission of the WHO Diabetes Programme is to prevent type 2 diabetes and to minimize complications and maximize quality of life for all people with diabetes. Our core functions are to set norms and standards, promote surveillance, encourage prevention, raise awareness and strengthen prevention and control.

Read more about Mortality, prevalence of diabetes and related risk factors

Source: WHO (World Health Organization)