Diabetes Rates May Double Worldwide by 2030

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April 26, 2004 -- The number of people with diabetes will double worldwide by 2030, according to new estimates from researchers at the World Health Organization (WHO) and several European universities.

Although the U.S. is expected to experience a far more rapid increase in diabetes rates, the study suggests the greatest relative increases will be in the Middle East, sub-Saharan Africa, and India.

That's because researchers say deaths due to infectious diseases as well as maternal and infant deaths in developing countries are expected to continue to drop in the next 30 years. Meanwhile, as diabetes rates climb in these areas, deaths due to related diseases, such as heart disease, will increase and account for a larger proportion of deaths in developing countries.

According to the study, published in the May issue of Diabetes Care, the top 10 countries with the highest number of estimated diabetes cases for 2000 and 2030 are as follows:

2000

2030

Rank

Country

People with diabetes (millions)

Country

People with diabetes (millions)

1

India

31.7

India

79.4

2

China

20.8

China

42.3

3

U.S.

17.7

U.S.

30.3

4

Indonesia

8.4

Indonesia

21.3

5

Japan

6.8

Pakistan

13.9

6

Pakistan

5.2

Brazil

11.3

7

Russian Federation

4.6

Bangladesh

11.1

8

Brazil

4.6

Japan

8.9

9

Italy

4.3

Philippines

7.8

10

Bangladesh

3.2

Egypt

6.7

Diabetes Epidemic Growing Ahead of Schedule

The study shows that the three countries with the most people with diabetes are expected to remain India, China, and the U.S. But researchers predict an even higher increase than the CDC predicted in 2001.

The CDC study projected that the number of Americans diagnosed with diabetes would reach 29 million by 2050, but this study estimates there will be more than 30 million Americans with diabetes as early as 2030. Researchers say the new estimate is based on the fact that up to 50% of people with diabetes do not know they have the disease, and their projection is based on people with both diagnosed and undiagnosed diabetes.

Continued

Researchers say it's unlikely that their projections overestimate the future of the diabetes epidemic because they are based on the prevalence of obesity remaining stable. But obesity rates have been rising substantially in recent years. Obesity is the leading modifiable risk factor for diabetes.

"Even if the prevalence of obesity remains stable until 2030, which seems unlikely, it is anticipated that the number of people with diabetes will more than double as a consequence of population aging and urbanization," write researcher Sarah Wild, PhD, of the University of Edinburgh, Scotland, and colleagues.

"The human and economic costs of this epidemic are enormous," write the researchers. "A concerted global initiative is required to address the diabetes epidemic."

WebMD Health News Reviewed by Michael W. Smith, MD on April 26, 2004

Sources

SOURCE: Wild, S. Diabetes Care, May 2004; vol 27: pp 1047-1053.

© 2004 WebMD, Inc. All rights Reserved.

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