Type 2 diabetes – a problem on a global scale

Diabetes has become an epidemic that is now affecting countries across the globe. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), the number of people suffering from diabetes rose to 422 million in 2014 from 108 million in 1980. The rise has occurred in mainly lower income countries; the condition that was once considered to be an illness of the well-off is no longer that.

Medical supplies providers such as USMED have already seen a growth in purchases of diabetes testing kits and the situation continues to be a cause for concern. The WHO estimates that diabetes will be the seventh leading cause of death globally by 2030.

type 2 diabetes

What is type 2 diabetes?

Although there has been a rise in the incidence of both types of diabetes, it’s the serious issues with type 2 diabetes that are most cause for concern. This type of diabetes is more likely to occur in people who are overweight and/or lead a sedentary lifestyle. It used to be mostly found in adults, but is becoming more common in children, with the growth in childhood obesity. When someone suffers from type 2 diabetes the body is not able to use insulin effectively and glucose remains in the blood stream instead of entering the cells of the body. If the problem is left untreated it can cause serious problems with the heart, eyes, feet and kidneys.

Incidence of diabetes increases with growth of western lifestyle

The incidence of diabetes across the globe has grown with the adoption of a western lifestyle.According to recent reports, China is now at the center of the diabetes epidemic. Changes in nutrition that have accompanied economic growth and urbanization have lead to an increase in the prevalence of diabetes in the country from 1% in 1980 to 10% in 2008 (when around 92 million adults were diagnosed as being diabetic). A similar situation is happening in India thanks to continued development and westernization.

The cost of the diabetes epidemic

The fact that diabetes is now equally common among people of different levels of wealth, and in different countries, means that it comes with a high global cost. Some of this cost can be measured simply by the health effects of the condition. By 2030 it’s estimated that around 438 million people will suffer from diabetes globally. Given that the disease is also becoming more common in children, there is mounting concern about the future.  Given that it was estimated that 12% of all expenditure on health across the globe was taken up by diabetes in 2010, the epidemic is also causing financial worries. If predictions are correct, global diabetes expenditure could hit £490 billion by 2030.

No country can afford to spend excessive amounts on dealing with the diabetes epidemic and some are especially ill-prepared. Currently, the emphasis is on encouraging people to adopt a healthier diet and exercise regularly in order to stem the flow of the epidemic.