A substantial increase of diabetes is affecting more people worldwide then ever before. According to The Lancet, a British research team that works with the World Health Organization, 347 million adults worldwide are living with diabetes.
The study found that approximately 36 million people in the U.S. suffer from diabetes. China weighs in with a whopping 138 million afflicted with the disease. The rate of global diabetes has nearly doubled from 1980 to 2008, while the number of men with diabetes rose from 8.3 percent to 9.8 percent (an 18 percent rise) over the thirty-year period.
Seventy percent of the increase can be attributed to population growth, where the other 30 percent is due to other factors such as obesity. North America showed the highest increase in diabetes. Western Europe, South Korea and Thailand showed no increase in diabetes, while Japan showed a slight increase.
The World Health Organization recently released its first annual “Global Status Report” which found that non-communicable, chronic diseases, which includes diabetes, are the leading killer of the world’s population. Diabetes is the seventh leading cause of death in the U.S. The disease can cause serious health problems, which may include heart disease, blindness, kidney failure, and lower-extremity amputations.
Professor of global environmental health at Imperial College London and lead author of the study, Majid Ezzati, stated, “Diabetes is a long-lasting and disabling condition, and it's going to be the largest cost for many health systems.” According to the American Diabetes Association, approximately $1 in $10 health care dollars is attributed to diabetes.
Type 1 diabetes occurs when the body’s immune system destroys insulin-producing cells in the pancreas and is less common than type 2 diabetes, which affects approximately 95 percent of people who suffer from the disease.
Although the cause and cure of type 1 diabetes is unknown, lack of exercise and obesity are the two most common causes of type 2 diabetes. Like type 1 diabetes, type 2 is also incurable but though living a healthy lifestyle, including diet and exercise, the disease may be prevented and controlled.