Diabetes affects 366 million people worldwide and kills one patient every seven seconds, according to the latest data on this disease presented at the last Congress of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes (EASD, by its initials in English), held in Lisbon (Portugal).

The majority of those affected by this disease suffer the so-called type 2 diabetes, which is related to an unbalanced diet, obesity and sedentary life. It is a problem that is spreading globally as the population of developed countries adopts more Western lifestyles.

Diabetics have inadequate blood sugar control, which can lead to serious health problems, such as blindness, heart disease, stroke, and damage to the kidneys or nerves. Deaths from this disease worldwide are around 4.6 million per year.

The latest figures on diabetes in the world speak of diabetes as a "great global challenge" and underscore the need for governments to take action urgently.

The high-level meeting that the United Nations will hold between September 19 and 20 in New York - the second that will focus on a disease after the meeting to discuss AIDS that was held in 2001 - will analyze what could be done to counteract the growing problem that the non-communicable diseases, among which diabetes is included.

Control risk factors

The annual expenses in medical care for patients with diabetes are around 465,000 million dollars (about 339,861 million euros)

The NCD Alliance, which brings together 2,000 health organizations around the world, defends that spending $ 9,000 million (about 6,579 million euros) a year to control tobacco, advertising on food and basic treatments, could prevent tens of millions of premature deaths this decade.

However, governments with liquidity problems have squandered the possibility of raising funds to fight this problem, even though the cost of not acting could be even higher, since the annual expenses in medical care for patients with diabetes are around 465,000 million dollars (about 339,861 million euros).

The new figures on the prevalence and cost of diabetes will be published in the fifth edition of the Atlas of Diabetes, the guide on this disease of the International Diabetes Federation (IDF, for its acronym in English).

The previous edition, of October 2009, put the number of patients with diabetes at 285 million for 2010. However, a study published in 'Lancet' last June has placed this figure well above the 347 million.

According to the president of the IDF, Jean Claude Mbanya, "the data of the last Atlas of IDF are proof that diabetes is a great global challenge that can not be ignored". "In 2011, a person dies of diabetes every seven seconds," he says.

Mbanya and EASD Vice President Andrew Boulto have called for more research to strengthen health systems around the world to manage the diabetes problem.

The global sales of drugs against diabetes totaled 35,000 million dollars (about 25,581 million euros) last year and could reach 48,000 million dollars (about 35,084 million euros) for 2015, according to the study company IMS Health, due to the increase in prevalence and treatments, especially in countries such as China, India, Mexico and Brazil.


The Leading Cause of Death in 2019 | Diabetes Series| Diabetes vs The World #1 (November 2019).