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Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Why Have Diabetes Numbers Grown So Much Lately?


The World Health Organisation estimates that in excess of 350 million people around the world have been diagnosed with diabetes, either type I diabetes or type II diabetes, with a further tens of millions living in ignorance and undiagnosed. Even though type II diabetes is the more prevalent of the two it is interesting to learn that there has also been a significant increase in the number of type I diabetics.
This now begs the question, why has the number of diabetics around the world grown so quickly over the last few years?

Diabetes Grabs Hold

Figures from an array of respected authorities around the world indicate that the number of adult diabetics has increased from 153 million in 1980 to the figure of 350 million we see today. However, while this figure alone is alarming what is of more concern is when you look at individual countries such as the US where the figure has grown threefold in just 30 years!
The very fact that diabetes is ultimately an issue with regards to the body's immune system, as opposed to any type of infection of contagious disease, means that we are unlikely to find the golden bullet cure. The best that we can probably hope for in the short to medium term is an improvement in the various treatments to contain the condition and ultimately possibly some form of inoculation to increase the body's chances of escaping diabetes.

The Economic Cost of Diabetes

Many experts have tried to look at diabetes from a financial standpoint and calculate the potential cost to the worldwide economy but ultimately it is astronomical and nobody really knows the true extent of the problem. Diabetes not only impacts the health of individuals but also impacts family life, government health budgets, economic prosperity and it is connected to an array of other health conditions such as heart attack, stroke, etc. There is even a suggestion that within the next 50 years we could see the UK NHS system bankrupt purely and simply because of the ever-growing cost of diabetes!
The reality is that governments round the world cannot afford to let the issue of diabetes run out of control. There will be difficult decisions to be made across the world, there will be significant changes to the current healthcare set up and ultimately there will be a need to invest literally billions of dollars to contain the issue. Each dollar spent today will be returned multi-fold in the years to come although from a political standpoint it may well be difficult to sell the idea of spending billions of dollars on a worldwide basis today, especially when you bear in mind the recent economic downturn and various austerity measures.

A Breeding Ground for Diabetes

A number of experts have stepped forward to suggest that the ever-growing number of diabetics round the world is simply due to the fact our lifestyles have changed dramatically, our dietary habits have changed dramatically and our exercise regimes are very different to that of 20 years ago or even 10 years ago. For many people there is little or no leisure time and eating on the move, involving fast foods and other similar services, does not bode well for a balanced and healthy diet in the long term.
In many ways it is the economic prosperity of regions such as Latin America which brought the likes of Mexico to their knees, the economic prosperity of the USA which has increased dramatically the number of obese adults and this is before we even begin to look into Europe where the problem is growing. There is no doubt that type II diabetes is linked to a material change in living habits and lifestyles but behind the scenes we are also beginning to see the emergence of more instances of type I diabetes, which many people believe is genetic.
In many ways diabetes is the downside of economic prosperity, as has been shown in many countries in Latin America and even India, and governments around the world now need to come together, invest enormous amounts of money and try to tackle the problem before it is too late. It will be interesting to see which governments step forward and which would prefer to step back and take the chance that the diabetes epidemic will burn out.


When you bear in mind that the number of diabetics around the world has doubled over the last 30 years, has trebled in America over the last three decades and is now a major problem across Latin America, governments do need to act now. Perhaps one of the major issues today is public awareness of the condition as many of us are aware of diabetes but very few of us see ourselves as being at risk. This attitude and this view certainly need to be updated!
There have been many scare stories with regards to diabetes and its potential to literally bankrupt the UK NHS system, but the reality is that governments around the world cannot let the situation run loose much longer. The medical profession, governments around the world and indeed the general public all need to play their part, increase awareness of diabetes and do their best to reduce the chances of developing the condition in the future.
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