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Biggest Diabetes Study: Condition Is Soaring Worldwide

Dorathy Gass

The largest global diabetes study ever conducted was recently published, and it revealed that in 2014, 422 million adults worldwide had the condition; which is close to four times the amount in 1980. If this increase continues, by 2025 more than 700 million adults all over the world will be diabetic. The study also revealed that the current costs around treatment sits at about $825 billion each year.

Close to 500 researchers around the world took part in the study, led by a UK team from the Imperial College London. The World Health Organization, as well as the Chan School of Public Health in Boston were involved. The research analyzed data from over 4 million adults, with a vast majority of differing countries around the globe participating. The study reviewed diabetes levels in male and female adults from 1980 to 2014.
The results, were overwhelming.

First, figures were adjusted for age, considering those countries with aging populations that were larger. Results revealed that the rate of diabetes worldwide, as it relates to males, more than doubled. In fact, the rate was over 4 percent in 1980, and it increased to 9 percent in 2014 overall. Rates among females increased as well; with it being 5 percent in 1980 and then 7.9 percent in 2014.

In America, diabetes almost doubled for men as well, from 4.7 percent in 1980 to 8.2 percent in 2014. American women witnessed an increase in diabetes from 4.3 percent in 1980 to 6.4 percent in 2014.

Austria, Belgium, Denmark, the Netherlands, and Switzerland were countries with the lowest age-adjusted diabetes rates in 2014 with about 6 percent for the males, and 4 percent for the females; while Micronesia and Polynesia had the highest diabetes rates, affecting over one in five adults. Worldwide, the low and middle income nations saw the biggest jump.

Medical News Today reports that the financials around the disease (calculated in International Dollars), which includes costs for treatments, managing the condition, and complications when the disease worsens (i.e. limb amputations) equals out to $825 billion annually; and this total does not include the amount of working days lost, which would increase this total dramatically.

Lead author, Majid Ezzati, School of Public Health at Imperial College, notes this is the first diabetes study with a full, worldwide picture of the disease. He goes on to state that the results reveal the condition has grown to levels that could cripple some health systems. This large cost of diabetes could not only go to individuals, but governments as well, and be used for other essentials in life, such as education, and food.

Goodarz Danaei, co-lead, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, notes a focus on controlling obesity is a vital risk factor for the condition. He goes on to suggest that genetics, as well as early life and fetal conditions may also play a part in the high rates of the illness in certain nations. He states that an unhealthy lifestyle and inadequate nutrition while mothers are pregnant, and during the early stages of life for a child can also increase the risk, when it comes to diabetes.

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