A major international study looking at worldwide diabetes data since 1980 has discovered that the number of adults with the disease reached 347 million in 2008, more than double the number in 1980. The research was just published in The Lancet.
The study, the largest of its kind for diabetes, was carried out by an international collaboration of researchers, led by Professor Majid Ezzati from Imperial College London and co-led by Dr. Goodarz Danaei from the Harvard School of Public Health, in collaboration with The World Health Organization and a number of other institutions.
Here is a summary of some of the data they complied:
• High blood glucose and diabetes are responsible for over three million deaths worldwide each year.
• Between 1980 and 2008, the number of adults with diabetes rose from 153 million to 347 million.
• The proportion of adults with diabetes rose to 9.8 per cent of men and 9.2 per cent of women in 2008, compared with 8.3 per cent of men and 7.5 per cent of women in 1980.
• The estimated number of diabetics was considerably higher than a previous study in 2009 which put the number worldwide at 285 million.
• Diabetes has taken off most dramatically in Pacific Island nations, which now have the highest diabetes levels in the world. In the Marshall Islands, one in three women and one in four men have diabetes.
• Glucose and diabetes were also particularly high in south Asia, Latin America, the Caribbean, Central Asia, North Africa and the Middle East.
• Among high-income countries, the rise in diabetes was relatively small in Western Europe and highest in North America. Diabetes and glucose levels were highest in USA, Greenland, Malta, New Zealand and Spain, and lowest in the Netherlands, Austria and France.
• Of the 347 million people with diabetes, 138 million live in China and India and another 36 million in the USA and Russia.
• The region with the lowest glucose levels was sub-Saharan Africa, followed by east and southeast Asia.
Professor Majid Ezzati, from the School of Public Health at Imperial College London, said “Diabetes is one of the biggest causes of morbidity and mortality worldwide. Our study has shown that diabetes is becoming more common almost everywhere in the world. This is in contrast to blood pressure and cholesterol, which have both fallen in many regions. Diabetes is much harder to prevent and treat than these other conditions.”