A researcher from UPM is involved in a study that estimates the global prevalence of diabetes and anticipates future trends.
The researcher and full professor from Universidad Politécnica de Madrid (UPM), Marcela González Gross, is involved in an international scientific team led by Imperial College London that has carried out a research to assess the number of adults with diabetes and the trends of prevalence of this disease.
According to the results, the world's adult population with diabetes increased from 108 million in 1980 to 422 millions in 2014 and if measures are not taken on time, this figure will exceed 700 millions in the next years.
Today, diabetes is among the leading causes of death and morbidity and this involves a high cost for national health systems worldwide. Accordingly, there is an urgent need to establish actions to prevent this disease, improve early detection and to slow its progression to other complications.
In order to boost these actions, the United Nations (UN) set the global goal, after a high level meeting in 2011 on non-communicable diseases, of stopping the increase of diabetes among adults and to keep its prevalence by 2025 at the same level than in 2010.
It is required valid and consistent estimates of the prevalence of diabetes over time to assess the effects of the implemented interventions, to compare the trends among the different countries and to measure the progress towards achieving the goal agreed by UN. Thus, NCD-RisC group started with this purpose, this group is a network of scientists around the world focused on health that provides rigorous and timely data about risk factors for noncommunicable diseases of 200 countries and regions.
The NCD-RisC group works closely with World Heath Organization (WHO) through a collaborating centre on surveillance of noncommunicable diseases and epidemiology at Imperial College London.
Researchers collected data from 751 surveys between 1980 and 2014 that included 4,372,000 adults whose data of diabetes was measured through their biomarkers in 146 out of 200 countries where this study was carried out. The Bayesian hierarchical model was used to estimate by gender the trends in diabetes prevalence defined by the fasting plasma glucose, the history of diagnosis of diabetes, the use of insulin or oral medications.
Results show that from 1980 the age-standardized adult diabetes prevalence was almost doubled since it increased from 4.7% to 8.5%. This data also indicates an increase of associated risk factors such as overweight and obesity.
The burden of diabetes, both in terms of prevalence and number of adults affected, has increased more faster in low-income and middle-income countries than in high-income countries. Based on these results, researchers suggest that “if post-2000 trends continue, the chance of meeting the global target of UN on this disease is lower than 1% for males and 1% for females worldwide.
The research and results were published in The Lancet journal and have been the basis to develop the first Global report on diabetes by UN.
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