Adults With Diabetes Quadruples Since 1980

Adults with diabetes has increased from 108 million to 422 million people since 1980, and it has become especially problematic in low- and middle-income countries.

According to a new study in The Lancet, data collected from 4.4 million adults across 751 studies revealed that diabetes rates have quadrupled worldwide in the past 35 years. Researchers claim the disease has become more prevalent in males than females, and they reported a significant increase in diabetic cases in Mexico and the Asia-Pacific.

"Diabetes has become a defining issue for global public health,” said Majid Ezzati, a senior author of the study from Imperial College London. “Rates of diabetes are rising quickly in China, India and many other low- and middle-income countries, and if current trends continue, the probability of meeting the 2025 UN global target is virtually non-existent."

Location and prevention

The study puts forth that while Northwestern Europe has the lowest rates, nearly 20 percent of adults in Polynesia and Micronesia have diabetes. One third of American Samoa adults have the disease, and the largest increase has been observed in Middle Eastern and North African countries like Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia.

Researchers did not differentiate between type 1 and type 2 diabetes in the study. However, they believe that because 85 to 90 percent of adults with the disease suffer from type 2 diabetes that the worldwide escalation is due to the increase in type 2 diabetic cases.

"Obesity is the most important risk factor for type 2 diabetes and our attempts to control rising rates of obesity have so far not proved successful,” said Ezzati. “Identifying people who are at high risk of diabetes should be a particular priority since the onset can be prevented or delayed through lifestyle changes, diet or medication."

Source: AlphaGalileo

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