Diabetes is running at record levels worldwide and half the people estimated to have the disease are, as yet, undiagnosed, according to a recent report.
The number of people living with diabetes is now put at 371 million, up from 366 million a year ago, with numbers expected to reach 552 million by 2030, the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) said.
While diabetes is often viewed as a western problem, since the vast majority of people have type 2 disease which is linked to obesity and lack of exercise, the disease is also spreading rapidly in poorer countries, alongside urbanization, and four out of five diabetics now live in low and middle-income countries, opening up new opportunities and challenges for the drug industry.
China alone has 92.3 million people with diabetes, more than any other nation in the world, and the hidden burden is also enormous in sub-Saharan Africa where limited healthcare means less than a fifth of cases get diagnosed.
The IDF estimates that, globally, 187 million people do not yet know they are suffering from the condition.
The prevalence of diagnosed diabetes increased in all U.S. states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico between 1995 and 2010, according to a study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). During that time, the prevalence of diagnosed diabetes increased by 50 percent or more in 42 states, and by 100 percent or more in 18 states.
The report, appearing in CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, finds that states with the largest increases are Oklahoma (226 percent), Kentucky (158 percent), Georgia (145 percent), Alabama (140 percent), and Washington (135 percent).