World Diabetes Day: Number of people with type 2 to increase 25 percent by 2030

Diabetes is a growing problem with type 2 expected to increase by more than 25 percent worldwide over the next 10 years.

A quarter of a million Kiwis are living with it and a Whānau Day was held on Saturday as one small step towards tackling the trend.

Diabetes is our largest and fastest-growing health crisis.

"We've got a pandemic at the moment with COVID-19 but the reality is diabetes is actually a pandemic globally and in New Zealand," says Diabetes NZ chief executive Heather Verry.

The number of people with diabetes is expected to reach 578 million worldwide by 2030, an increase of 25 percent - and that goes for New Zealand too.

"New Zealand and the South Pacific and even more susceptible to it than other parts of the world," says Verry.

Ten percent of the global healthcare budget is spent on treatments for diabetes. Here it could be even higher. 

But there's also an emotional cost - a new survey shows more than 80 percent of Kiwis living with diabetes experience diabetes distress. 

Malia Ahovelo just had a diabetes risk test in the hope of avoiding it.

"I found that I am now pre-diabetic and it was instant, so it was good. It was good to find out straight away," Ahovelo says.

With a bit of work, it's reversible.

"Catching it early, cause making a difference early is crucial to preventing complications long term," says diabetes nurse Rhonda Mountfort.

Better awareness, just one step in helping to reverse the growing trend.

November 14 marks World Diabetes Day.