Diabetes rate ‘doubles’ – Imperial College and Harvard research suggests
Obesity is a major risk factor for Type 2
The number of adults with
diabetes in the world has more than doubled since 1980, a study in the Lancet
Researchers from Imperial College London and Harvard University in the US
analysed data from 2.7m people across the world, using statistical techniques to
project a worldwide figure.
They claim the total number of people with diabetes – which can be fatal –
has risen from 153m to 347m.
The authors called for better detection and treatment to combat the rise.
Its authors said 70% of the rise was down to people living longer.
The rise has been most pronounced in the Pacific Islands. In the Marshall
Islands a third of all women have the condition.
Majid Ezzati, of Imperial College London, said: "Diabetes is becoming more
common almost everywhere in the world.
"Unless we develop better programmes for detecting people with elevated blood
sugar and helping them to control their weight, diabetes will continue to impose
a major burden on health systems around the world."
Diabetes leads to inadequate blood sugar control, which can damage the
kidneys and cause blindness. It can also cause heart disease and strokes.
Type 2 diabetes is closely linked with obesity.
Of developed nations, the US had the highest prevalence. The diabetes rate
was relatively low in western Europe.
Drug market booming
The study, carried out in conjunction with the World Health Organization,
found that the diabetes rate had either risen or stayed the same in virtually
Spending on diabetes medicines – already worth £22bn annually – could hit
£30bn by 2015, according to drug research firm IMS Health.
Dennis Urbaniak, of pharmaceutical firm Sanofi, said: "This is a chronic,
"What we are most worried about is the number of people out there with
diabetes that is not optimally controlled."