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).
“Regionally, we saw the largest increase in diagnosed diabetes prevalence in the South, followed by the West, Midwest, and Northeast,” said Linda Geiss, a statistician with CDC’s Division of Diabetes Translation and lead author of the report. “These data also reinforce findings from previous studies, which indicate that the prevalence of diagnosed diabetes is highest in the southern and Appalachian states.”
The study, which uses data from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System – an annual telephone survey of health behaviors and conditions of US adults aged 18 and older – found that the prevalence of diagnosed diabetes in 2010 was 10 percent or more in six states and Puerto Rico.
“In 1995 only three states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico had a diagnosed diabetes prevalence of 6 percent or more. By 2010, all 50 states had a prevalence of more than 6 percent,” said Ann Albright, Ph.D., R.D., director of CDC’s Division of Diabetes Translation. “These rates will continue to increase until effective interventions and policies are implemented to prevent both diabetes and obesity.”
Type 2 diabetes, which may be prevented through lifestyle changes, accounts for 90 percent to 95 percent of all diabetes cases in the United States. CDC and its partners are working on a variety of initiatives to prevent type 2 diabetes and to reduce complications in those already diagnosed.
CDC leads the National Diabetes Prevention Program, a public-private partnership that brings evidence-based programs for preventing type 2 diabetes to communities. The program is helping to establish a network of lifestyle-change classes for overweight or obese people at high risk of developing type 2 diabetes. As well, the National Diabetes Education Program (www.YourDiabetesInfo.org) – a partnership of CDC and NIH – provides resources to improve the treatment and outcomes of people with diabetes, promote early diagnosis, and prevent or delay the onset of type 2 diabetes.
Also today, CDC introduced a new online tool, Diabetes Interactive Atlases (http://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/atlas), which provides data for diagnosed diabetes, obesity and leisure-time physical inactivity at the national, state and county levels. The new tool also includes interactive motion charts showing trends in the growth of diabetes and obesity throughout the United States and within states.
For more information about diabetes and CDC’s prevention efforts visit www.cdc.gov/diabetes.