Diabetes Prevalence Reaching Alarming Levels

Study finds global need for health care interventions that target diabetes.

A new study estimated that the global prevalence of people living with diabetes has grown by 314 million.

The study published in The Lancet found that diabetes prevalence jumped from 108 million in 1980 to 422 million in 2014 worldwide. Furthermore, predictions for future trends reveal that if measures are not taken against this global epidemic, the figure will exceed 700 million in the upcoming years.

Currently, diabetes is among the leading causes of death, and involves a high cost for national health systems worldwide. In a study led by Imperial College London, researchers gathered data from 751 surveys between 1980 and 2014, which included 4,372,000 adults whose diabetes data was measured through their biomarkers in 146 out of 200 countries.

Researchers used the Bayesian hierarchical model to estimate trends in diabetes prevalence by gender. This was defined by the history of diabetes diagnosis, use of oral medications or insulin, and fasting plasma glucose.

The results showed that from 1980, the age-standardized adult diabetes prevalence nearly doubled, increasing from 4.7% to 8.5%. The findings also indicate an increase of associated risk factors, including obesity and being overweight.

Since diabetes prevalence has increased faster in low-income and middle-income countries than high-income countries, researchers suggest that if these post-2000 trends continue, the likelihood of meeting the United Nation’s global target on diabetes is lower than 1% for males and 1% for females globally.