400 Million People Have Diabetes
Diabetes Global Update from DFCon 2017
I am at DFCon 2017 in Houston, Texas this week. DFCon stands for Diabetic Foot Convention, and the conference is in it’s 17th year. I was fortunate to attend this conference several years ago while in residency as the conference gave me a ticket (Thank You!). One of the chairpersons is Dr David Armstrong, well knows to podiatry and diabetes circles for his tireless research and work relating to this disease. This is an international conference where presenters from all over the world
come to speak on topics related to diabetes, with many speakers discussing diabetes in their home country.
Hearing the lectures so far, I thought it would be interesting to share with you some of the world numbers on diabetes. In his opening statement, Dr Andrew Boulton stated that we are losing 3.2 million people per year to diabetes. Another author wrote that diabetes is killing a 747 full of people every day. If you’ve ever been on a 747, you can visualize how many people that is.
Diabetes in the United States
Let’s start with the US, my country, and the one I’m most familiar with. In the US there are approximately 29 million people with diabetes, 21 million are diagnosed with about 8 million
undiagnosed. This represents approximately 9.3% of the population. There are another 80+ million who are undiagnosed, or have prediabetes. This represents approximately 37% of the population over 20 years old. This is a staggering statistic. The American Diabetes Association calculated that the rate of diabetes increased by ‘382% from 1988 to 2014.’ This is far faster than a disease should be increasing.
These numbers are several years old, but even if they were released today the one thing you can count on with diabetes demographics is that the actual number is always higher than what is reported. Knowing that the numbers underreport, sometimes it is better to look at the trend, or how quickly the number is changing year to year.
Global Diabetes Numbers
Next let’s look at the world numbers. For this I’ll use statistics from the World Health Organization (WHO). WHO writes that there were 108 million people with diabetes in 1980, and that number rose to 422 million in 2014. The percentage of people with diabetes has risen from 4.7 to 8.5 during the same period. Above I related that diabetes is rapidly increasing in the US, but the rate of increase is even worse in low and middle-income countries. Dr Bijan Najafi stated that the global number with diabetes is estimated to reach 642 million people by 2040.
Country Specific Updates
Dr Rumneek Sodhi presented that in India 105 million had diabetes as of 2015, and Dr Boulton stated that the percent of the population with diabetes has doubled in the past twelve years. Dr Jose Antonio Munoa discussed that in Chiapas, Mexico the rate of diabetes was officially reported at 10% of the
population, but it was actually over 20% in the population over 50 years old. Dr Norina Gavan discused that in Romania the prevalence was noted at 11.6% in 2016. The above numbers were presented at DFCon 2017, and likely represent more accurate numbers than the official reported statistics. WHO statistics for each individual country can be found here.
Globally the rate of diabetes continues to accelerate. This is unsustainable, not only for the developing world, but for the developed world also. It is estimated that 12-15% of the average country’s health budget is dedicated to diabetes, but in some countries that number ranges as high as 40%. If you have diabetes you are in multitudinous and multinational company. Keep reading, educate yourself and take action. Your best money and time will be spent on avoiding diabetes, if you do not have it. If you do have it, or are recently diagnosed with type II, you may be able to diet and exercise your way out of it.