World Diabetes: 366 Million Cases and Counting

4.6 Million Estimated Diabetes Deaths in 2011 Outstrips Population of Los Angeles

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Sept. 14, 2011 -- Worldwide, 366 million people have diabetes, the International Diabetes Federation says.

That's 54 million more people than the entire population of the United States.

This year, an estimated 4.6 million people will die of diabetes -- far more people than the 3.8 million people living in Los Angeles.

The global annual health care cost of diabetes reached $465 billion.

The new estimates were announced this week at the annual meeting of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes (EASD). The idea is to jump-start next week's United Nations meeting on non-communicable diseases. The world body will discuss ramping up efforts to battle diseases such as diabetes, cancer, heart disease, and lung disease.

"In 2011, one person is dying from diabetes every seven seconds," International Diabetes Federation president Jean Claude Mbanya says in a news release. "The clock is ticking for the world's leaders. We expect action from their meeting next week … that will halt diabetes' relentlessly upward trajectory."

In the U.S., diabetes is a growing issue. The CDC estimates that 25.8 million Americans have diabetes, although only 18.8 million have been diagnosed. Four out of five U.S. diabetes cases are type 2 diabetes, which sometimes may be preventable.

But prevention is not what's happening. If current trends continue, by 2050 an estimated one in three Americans will have diabetes.

The American Diabetes Association estimates that the U.S. cost of diabetes is $174 billion a year. That figure balloons to more than $218 billion when costs of prediabetes, gestational diabetes, and undiagnosed diabetes are included.

WebMD Health News Reviewed by Laura J. Martin, MD on September 14, 2011


News release, International Diabetes Federation.
News release, European Association for the Study of Diabetes.
CDC web site.
American Diabetes Association, email from spokeswoman Sara Bradley.

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