During the last 20 years the total number of people with diabetes worldwide has risen from 30 million to 230 million, according to the International Diabetes Federation. China and India now have the most diabetes sufferers in the world.

Today, out of the top ten countries with diabetes sufferers, seven are developing countries. The Caribbean and the Middle East have regions where the percentage of adults with diabetes has reached 20%. In certain parts of Africa developing diabetes can mean a short route to death. While patients in developed countries, with access to proper treatment, can expect to live for several decades, in countries such as Mali and Mozambique developing diabetes often means a life expectancy of one or two years.

The International Diabetes Federation released its data at the American Diabetes Association’s 66th Scientific Sessions.

The spread of diabetes type 2 today is due to lifestyle, diet and genetics. Many more people today have better access to food, eat more of the wrong nutrients and do much less exercise. This combination of bad diet and inactivity leads to weight gain, which in turn raises the risk of developing diabetes type 2.

Here are some facts

— The number of people with diabetes is expected to reach 350 million by 2025.

— Top five countries with the most diabetes sufferers in 2003 were: India (35.5 million, China 23.8 million, USA 16 million, Russia 9.7 million and Japan 6.7 million.

— Top five countries with the highest percentage of adults with diabetes in 2003 were: Nauru 30.2 %, United Arab Emirates 20.1 %, Qatar 16%, Bahrain14.9%, and Kuwait 12.8%.

— The number of diabetes sufferers by 2025 is expected to: Double in Africa, the Eastern Mediterranean and Middle East, and South-East Asia, and rise by 20% in Europe, 50% in North America, 85% in South and Central America and 75% in the Western Pacific.

— There are 6 million new diabetes sufferers in the world each year.

— Every ten seconds someone in the world dies as a result of having diabetes – 3 million deaths a year.

— Diabetes is now the fourth biggest cause of death worldwide.

— Half of all diabetes sufferers around the globe do not know they have it. In some parts of the world 80% of sufferers don’t know.

— Diabetes causes more cases of blindness and visual impairments in adults than any other illness in the developed world.

— One million amputations each year are caused by diabetes. A diabetes sufferer is up to 40 times more likely to need a lower-limb amputation when compared to a person who does not have diabetes.

— Diabetes raises the sufferer’s risk of developing a cardiovascular disease by two to four times. Cardiovascular disease, the number one cause of death in the industrial world, will soon be the number one cause of death globally.

— It is estimated that diabetes accounts for 5% to 10% of most nations’ health budgets.

— If more money were spent on early detection of diabetes and diabetes prevention the economic savings would be massive.

— Good control of blood glucose levels significantly reduces the diabetes patients’ risk of developing complications. Managing hypertension and raised blood lipids is also crucial.

— One quarter of all the countries in the world have not made any specific provision for diabetes care in their health plans.

International Diabetes Federation

Written by: Christian Nordqvist
Editor: Medical News Today