Treatment of hypertension is important, despite the fact that it rarely causes noticeable symptoms at the early stages. Hypertension accelerates atherosclerosis, which leads to coronary artery disease, heart attacks, heart failure, strokes, kidney failure, peripheral artery disease, and aortic aneurysms. Treating hypertension in the early stages has been shown to prevent these complications.
Learning about the disease and actively participating in the treatment is important, since complications are far less common and less severe in people who have well-managed blood sugar levels. The goal of treatment is an HbA1C level of 6.5%, but should not be lower than that, and may be set higher. Attention is also paid to other health problems that may accelerate the negative effects of diabetes. These include smoking, elevated cholesterol levels, obesity, high blood pressure, and lack of regular exercise. Specialized footwear is widely used to reduce the risk of ulceration, or re-ulceration, in at-risk diabetic feet. Evidence for the efficacy of this remains equivocal, however.
Weight loss surgery in those with obesity and type two diabetes is often an effective measure. Many are able to maintain normal blood sugar levels with little or no medications following surgery and long-term mortality is decreased. There is, however, a short-term mortality risk of less than 1% from the surgery. The body mass index cutoffs for when surgery is appropriate are not yet clear. It is recommended that this option be considered in those who are unable to get both their weight and blood sugar under control.
The blood vessels and blood are the highways that transport sugar from where it is either taken in (the stomach) or manufactured (in the liver) to the cells where it is used (muscles) or where it is stored (fat). Sugar cannot go into the cells by itself. The pancreas releases insulin into the blood, which serves as the helper, or the "key," that lets sugar into the cells for use as energy.
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The first WHO Global report on diabetes demonstrates that the number of adults living with diabetes has almost quadrupled since 1980 to 422 million adults. Factors driving this dramatic rise, which is largely on account of type 2 diabetes, include overweight and obesity. The new report calls upon governments to ensure that people are able to make healthy choices and that health systems are able to diagnose, treat and care for people with diabetes.