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Global diabetes cases soaring out of control

Robin Wulffson MD's picture
Diabetes Day, Diabetes Month, International Diabetes Federation

Coincident with World Diabetes Day, the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) released new estimates on global diabetes rates in its Diabetes Atlas 2012 Update. It notes that, globally, diabetes is soaring out of control; in addition, halt the cases have not yet been diagnosed.

The report notes that 371 million people have diabetes and 187 million are still to be diagnosed. The astounding number of undiagnosed cases of diabetes signifies means that millions of individuals are at risk of costly and debilitating diabetes complications, including nerve and kidney disease. Last year’s estimates placed the number of individuals with diabetes at 366 million and number of deaths at 4 million. The 2012 figures revealed that the upward trend will continue. The report notes that by the end of the year, 4.8 million people will have died from
diabetes related complications. Half of these deaths will be in individuals under the age of 60.

“As millions of undiagnosed people develop diabetes complications, we can expect to see
the mortality rate climb” noted IDF President Jean Claude Mbanya. He added, “On World Diabetes Day, we want to raise awareness that this disease can be controlled and in some cases prevented.”

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Other findings from the Diabetes Atlas 2012 Update reveal:

  • 471 billion USD were spent on diabetes in 2012, compared to 465 billion in 2011
  • 4 out of 5 individuals with diabetes live in low‐ and middle‐income countries
  • 1 out of 3 adults with diabetes lives in the Western Pacific
  • 1 in 4 of all diabetes deaths occur in Southeast Asia
  • North America spends the most healthcare dollars on diabetes
  • 81% of people with diabetes in Africa are undiagnosed

The IDF notes that the release of these figures increases the urgency around IDF’s commitment to see diabetes and other Non‐communicable Diseases (NCDs) finally included in the next set of global development goals, which will take the place of the outgoing Millennium Development
goals in 2015. IDF CEO Ann Keeling explained, “Millions of people are dying from diabetes in their most productive years. The stability of societies is threatened and huge economic and political burdens are imposed on countries and communities. However this disease remains marginalized on the global health and development agenda and vastly under‐resourced.”
The IDF notes that it is hopeful that campaigns such as today’s World Diabetes Day will continue to raise the voice of people with diabetes and to encourage all stakeholders to move from advocacy to action on a global scale.

Reference: International Diabetes Federation

See also:
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American Diabetes Month reminder: have a comprehensive eye exam
Keep your kids thin with sugar-free beverages
High carbohydrate diet linked to increased risk of colon cancer recurrence