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Global Diabetes Rates Continue to Climb

Nearly 700 million individuals around the world will develop diabetes by 2045, many of whom are undiagnosed.
Published Online: Dec 04,2017
Laurie Toich, Assistant Editor
It is well-known that incidences of type 2 diabetes have been increasing over the past few years. Diabetes can result in significant costs related to complications that affect the eyes, heart, kidneys, nerves, and feet, which also affects quality of life.

The 8th edition of the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) Diabetes Atlas indicates that 1 in 11 adults around the world has diabetes, which is 10 million more than the total reported in 2015, according to a press release.

These new findings suggest that diabetes is a global health crisis that requires additional action to reduce the social and economic burdens, according to the IDF.

The authors project that nearly 700 million individuals around the world will develop diabetes by 2045, with another 350 million adults at risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

Notably, the authors found that 1 in 2 adults with diabetes are unaware of their diagnosis, which highlights the significance of screening. Early screening can mitigate healthcare costs and diabetes complications, such as amputations. 

“Diabetes causes devastating personal suffering and drives families into poverty,” said Dr Nam Cho, president-elect at IDF and chair of the IDF Diabetes Atlas committee. “There is urgency for more collective, multi-sectoral action to improve diabetes outcomes and reduce the global burden of diabetes. If we do not act in time to prevent type 2 diabetes and improve management of all types of diabetes, we place the livelihood of future generations at risk.”

The authors said that diabetes affects more than 200 million women around the world. Many of these patients may face barriers in accessing effective care, such as prevention, early diagnosis, treatment, and care, especially in low-income countries, according to the IDF. Diabetes also affects many pregnant women and can result in serious complications.

“Women and girls are key agents in the adoption of healthy lifestyles to prevent the further rise of diabetes and so it is important that they are given affordable and equitable access to the medicines, technologies, education and information they require to achieve optimal diabetes outcomes and strengthen their capacity to promote healthy behaviours [sic],” said Dr Shaukat Sadikot, president of IDF.

Although many organizations have made commitments to reduce the burden of diabetes, action is needed to achieve the United Nation targets, which include a 0% increase in diabetes and obesity cases, 80% access to essential medicines and devices by 2025, and a 30% reduction in premature death from non-communicable diseases by 2030, according to the release.

In light of their new findings, IDF calls on governments around the world to increase efforts towards achieving the goals, according to the release.

“IDF is calling for all nations affected by the diabetes pandemic to work towards the full implementation of the commitments that have been made,” said Dr Sadikot. “We have both the knowledge and the expertise to create a brighter future for generations to come.”