Though the prevalence of diabetes is alarming in every country, the Middle East has come on the radar more recently, and is in fact home to six of the top 10 countries for diabetes rates worldwide. It is thus very fitting that this year’s World Diabetes Congress, hosted by the International Diabetes Federation, was held last week in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. I had the pleasure of hearing diverse speakers from around the globe at the conference, and what I would like to share with you this week are some hard numbers and facts about the impact of diabetes around the planet (with reference to the excellent speakers, as well as the International Diabetes Federation’s Diabetes Atlas, 5th edition).
Did you know that:
1. There are currently 366 million people in the world with diabetes (including about 8.3% of the world’s adult population). By 2030, this number will be 552 million.
2. There is little gender difference in diabetes rates, with 185 million men and 181 million women affected worldwide.
3. All nations are suffering the impact of the diabetes endemic; there is no country in the world where diabetes rates are not increasing.
4. Fifty percent of people who have diabetes – don’t know it. In Africa, 78% of people with diabetes are undiagnosed.
5. There are more people with diabetes living in urban areas compared to rural areas. (The reasons why are probably several: urbanites tend to have more access to fast/Western unhealthy food choices, and tend to be less active, to name two.)
6. The greatest number of people with diabetes are in the 40-59 age group.
7. In addition to the people who already have diabetes, an additional 6.4% of the world’s adults are estimated to have impaired glucose tolerance (a form of prediabetes). That’s a total of nearly 15% of the world’s adults who currently have prediabetes or diabetes.
8. Rates of gestational diabetes (diabetes in pregnancy) are on the rise worldwide as well; further, women who have had gestational diabetes are at very high risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
9. 80% of people with diabetes live in low and middle income countries, who often have little or no access to medications needed for control of blood sugars.
10. The country with the highest diabetes prevalence is the Pacific island nation Kiribati, at a staggering 25.7%.
Food for thought. (pun intended)