This is a companion article to the feature, “Diabetes: In Search of Early Intervention.”
Among the key findings from the recent WHO Global Report on Diabetes are the following:1
- The number of people living with diabetes and its prevalence are growing in all regions of the world. In 2014, 422 million adults (8.5% of the population) had diabetes, compared with 108 million (4.7%) in 1980.
- The epidemic of diabetes has major health and socioeconomic impacts, especially in developing countries.
- In 2014, more than 1 in 3 adults aged over 18 years were overweight and more than one in 10 were obese.
- The complications of diabetes can lead to heart attack, stroke, blindness, kidney failure, and lower limb amputation. Rates of lower limb amputation are 10 to 20 times higher for people with diabetes.
- Diabetes caused 1.5 million deaths in 2012. Higher-than-optimal blood glucose caused an additional 2.2 million deaths by increasing the risks of cardiovascular and other diseases.
- Many of these deaths (43%) occur prematurely, before the age of 70 years, and are largely preventable through adoption of policies to create supportive environments for healthy lifestyles and better detection and treatment of the disease.
- Good management includes use of a small set of generic medicines; interventions to promote healthy lifestyles; patient education to facilitate self-care; and regular screening for early detection and treatment of complications.
- Global report on diabetes. Geneva, Switzerland: World Health Organization, 2016. Available at: http://apps.who.int/iris/bitstream/10665/204871/1/9789241565257_eng.pdf?ua=1. Accessed April 6, 2016.