Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

350 million adults have diabetes: Study reveals the scale of global epidemic

Date:
June 25, 2011
Source:
Imperial College London
Summary:
A major international study collating and analyzing worldwide data on diabetes since 1980 has found that the number of adults with the disease reached 347 million in 2008.

A major international study collating and analyzing worldwide data on diabetes since 1980 has found that the number of adults with the disease reached 347 million in 2008, more than double the number in 1980. The research, published June 25 in The Lancet, reveals that the prevalence of diabetes has risen or at best remained unchanged in virtually every part of the world over the last three decades.

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.

The new study found that between 1980 and 2008, the number of adults with diabetes rose from 153 million to 347 million. Seventy per cent of the rise was due to population growth and aging, with the other 30 per cent due to higher prevalence. The proportion of adults with diabetes rose to 9.8 per cent of men and 9.2 per cent of women in 2008, compared with 8.3 per cent of men and 7.5 per cent of women in 1980.

The estimated number of diabetics was considerably higher than a previous study in 2009 which put the number worldwide at 285 million.

The study, the largest of its kind for diabetes, was carried out by an international collaboration of researchers, 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.

Professor Majid Ezzati, from the School of Public Health at Imperial College London, said "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. 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."

Dr. Goodarz Danaei, from the Harvard School of Public Health, added "Unless we develop better programmes for detecting people with elevated blood sugar and helping them to improve their diet and physical activity and control their weight, diabetes will inevitably continue to impose a major burden on health systems around the world."

To test whether or not someone has diabetes, doctors measure the levels of glucose in a patient's blood after they have not eaten for 12 to 14 hours, since blood sugar rises after a meal. A "fasting plasma glucose" (FPG) below 5.6 millimoles per litre (mmol/L) is considered normal, above 7 mmol/L is diagnostic of diabetes and an FPG level between 5.6 and 7 is considered pre-diabetes.

The study included blood sugar measurements from 2.7 million participants aged 25 years or more across the world and used advanced statistical methods for analyzing data. According to the results, average fasting sugar rose from 5.3 mmol/L in men and 5.2 mmol/L in women in 1980 to 5.5 mmol/L in men and 5.4 mmol/L in women in 2008, even after accounting for age differences over time.

The study also found that:

  • Diabetes has taken off most dramatically in Pacific Island nations, which now have the highest diabetes levels in the world. In the Marshall Islands, one in three women and one in four men have diabetes. Glucose and diabetes were also particularly high in south Asia, Latin America, the Caribbean, Central Asia, North Africa and the Middle East.
  • Among high-income countries, the rise in diabetes was relatively small in Western Europe and highest in North America. Diabetes and glucose levels were highest in USA, Greenland, Malta, New Zealand and Spain, and lowest in the Netherlands, Austria and France.
  • 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.

Funding for the study came from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the World Health Organisation.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Imperial College London. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Majid Ezzati, Goodarz Danaei et al. 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. The Lancet, 25 June 2011 DOI: 10.1016/S0140-6736(11)60679-X

Cite This Page:

Imperial College London. "350 million adults have diabetes: Study reveals the scale of global epidemic." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 25 June 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/06/110625142633.htm>.
Imperial College London. (2011, June 25). 350 million adults have diabetes: Study reveals the scale of global epidemic. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 19, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/06/110625142633.htm
Imperial College London. "350 million adults have diabetes: Study reveals the scale of global epidemic." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/06/110625142633.htm (accessed September 19, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Friday, September 19, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Could Grief Affect The Immune Systems Of Senior Citizens?

Could Grief Affect The Immune Systems Of Senior Citizens?

Newsy (Sep. 19, 2014) The study found elderly people are much more likely to become susceptible to infection than younger adults going though a similar situation. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Jury Delivers Verdict in Salmonella Trial

Jury Delivers Verdict in Salmonella Trial

AP (Sep. 19, 2014) A federal jury has convicted three people in connection with an outbreak of salmonella poisoning five years ago that sickened hundreds of people and was linked to a number of deaths. (Sept. 19) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
How The 'Angelina Jolie Effect' Increased Cancer Screenings

How The 'Angelina Jolie Effect' Increased Cancer Screenings

Newsy (Sep. 19, 2014) Angelina's Jolie's decision to undergo a preventative mastectomy in 2013 inspired many women to seek early screenings for the disease. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Cost of Ebola

The Cost of Ebola

Reuters - Business Video Online (Sep. 18, 2014) As Sierra Leone prepares for a three-day "lockdown" in its latest bid to stem the spread of Ebola, Ciara Lee looks at the financial implications of fighting the largest ever outbreak of the disease. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins