In almost every region of the planet diabetes prevalence has risen or at best remained unchanged, according to a major international study published in a special online report by The Lancet medical journal.
The condition, caused by poor blood sugar control, can lead to heart disease and stroke and can damage the kidneys, nerves and eyes. Each year, high blood sugar levels and diabetes kill three million people worldwide.
Increasing life span and body weight are two of the strongest factors influencing diabetes rates, especially among women, say researchers. But ethnic genetic factors, nutrition in the womb and soon after birth, quality of diet and physical activity are also thought to be important.
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