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WHO Say 422 million People Are Now Living with Diabetes

April 7, 2016
Public Health

Figures released in a new report by the World Health Organisation (WHO) timed to coincide with World Health Day, show that the number of diabetes cases worldwide has risen from 108 million in 1980 to 422 million. The research findings mean that 8.5 % of the global population now suffer from the disease.

Previously, it was thought that the majority of cases occurred in the most affluent countries but a change in eating habits has seen low and middle income countries now bearing the greatest burden. Researchers looked at cases of type 1 diabetes but found a large increase in the lifestyle related type 2 disease was responsible for the current crisis.

Dr Margaret Chan, WHO director general, believes a drastic change is needed to prevent cases rising further. “If we are to make any headway in halting the rise in diabetes, we need to rethink our daily lives: to eat healthily, be physically active and avoid excessive weight gain,” she said. “Even in the poorest settings, governments must ensure that people are able to make these healthy choices and that health systems are able to diagnose and treat people with diabetes.”

Heart attacks, blindness, strokes, lower limb amputation and kidney failure can all be produced by diabetes. The condition led to 1.5 million deaths in 2012 with a further 2.2 million people dying due to complications from high blood glucose. Just over forty percent of deaths occurred in people under the age of 70.

You can read the full Global Report on Diabetes HERE.