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Number of diabetics rises to 422m

Number of diabetics rises to 422m
20th April 2016

New figures have shown that the number of people who have diabetes has significantly risen in recent years.

The data, published in the Lancet journal, reveals that diabetes now affects 422 million people around the world, according to 2014's records. This is a significant increase from the 108 million measured in 1980 and experts say it shows that the condition is becoming a major problem in low and middle income countries.

Professor Majid Ezzati, senior author from Imperial College London, called diabetes a "defining issue for global public health". 

He said an ageing population and rising levels of obesity were responsible for the rapid increase in diabetics over the past 35 years.

As well as there being a significant boom in the number of diabetics across the globe, it is particularly concerning that many countries outside of the developed world are also starting to see problems with the health condition. 

"Rates of diabetes are rising quickly in China, India, and many other low and middle income countries, and if current trends continue, the probability of meeting the 2025 UN global target is virtually non-existent," Professor Ezzati explained.

The analysis incorporates data from more than 750 studies, including around 4.4 million people. Results were then adjusted to compensate for some countries who have older populations, as the risk of diabetes increases as a person ages.

It revealed that between 1980 and 2014, diabetes has become more common among men than women. Global age-adjusted prevalence of diabetes doubled among men, rising from 4.3 per cent to nine per cent, while the figure increased from five per cent to 7.9 per cent for women.

Although there was an increase in overall rates of diabetes in many countries in Western Europe, the researchers found that age-adjusted rates remained relatively stable. This suggests that the main factor affecting the rise in diabetes across the region between 1980 and 2014 was an ageing population. 

The study did not differentiate between type 1 and type 2 diabetes, but between 85 and 95 per cent of diabetes in adults is type 2.

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