China & India Has 138 Million Diabetics, Study
By June-Wha Rhee | Health & Medicine
June 27, 2011
An international study reports that the number of adults with diabetes has doubled from 153 million to 347 million between 1980 and 2008.
AsianScientist (Jun. 27, 2011) – A major international study involving researchers from Switzerland, South Korea, the U.K. and the U.S. reports that the number of adults with diabetes has doubled from 153 million to 347 million between 1980 and 2008.
The research, published online on June 25 in The Lancet, found that the Pacific Island nations have the highest diabetes levels in the world. The rise of diabetes was relatively small in Western Europe, and highest in North America.
Of the 347 million people with diabetes, 138 million live in China and India and another 36 million in the USA and Russia.
The region with the lowest glucose levels was sub-Saharan Africa, followed by east and Southeast Asia.
Diabetes occurs when the cells of the body are not able to take up sugar in the form of glucose. As a consequence, the amount of glucose in the blood is higher than normal. Over time, this raises the risk of heart disease and stroke, and can also cause damage to the kidneys, nerves and retinas. High blood glucose and diabetes are responsible for over three million deaths worldwide each year.
Seventy percent of the rise in diabetes was due to population growth and aging, with the other 30 percent due to higher prevalence. The proportion of adults with diabetes rose to 9.8 percent of men and 9.2 percent of women in 2008, compared with 8.3 percent of men and 7.5 percent of women in 1980.
The latest estimate is considerably higher than a 2009 estimate of 285 million diabetics worldwide.
The study, the largest of its kind for diabetes, was led by Professor Majid Ezzati from Imperial College London and co-led by Dr. Goodarz Danaei from the Harvard School of Public Health, in collaboration with The World Health Organization and a number of other institutions.
“Diabetes is one of the biggest causes of morbidity and mortality worldwide. Our study has shown that diabetes is becoming more common almost everywhere in the world,” said Ezzati. “This is in contrast to blood pressure and cholesterol, which have both fallen in many regions. Diabetes is much harder to prevent and treat than these other conditions,” he added.
Danaei cautioned that unless better programs were developed for detecting diabetics, and unless these people were helped with their diet and weight management, diabetes would inevitably continue to impose a major burden on health systems around the world.
The article can be found at: Danaei et al. (2011) National, regional, and global trends in fasting plasma glucose and diabetes prevalence since 1980: systematic analysis of health examination surveys and epidemiological studies with 370 country-years and 2.7 million participants.