Science and Tech


Like Our Waistlines, The Global Diabetes Problem Is Getting Bigger

About 422 million adults were living with diabetes in 2014, according to new information from the World Health Organization.
Posted at 1:05 PM, Apr 06, 2016

The number of adults with diabetes is increasing at an alarming rate.

The World Health Organization just announced 422 million adults were living with either Type 1 or 2 diabetes in 2014. Only 108 million had it in 1980.

Accounting for population increases, this means the global prevalence of the disease has nearly doubled over just 34 years.

Health officials are attributing this rise to thicker waistlines. WHO found one in three adults were overweight in 2014, and one in 10 were considered obese.

Two years ago, the WHO ranked diabetes as the eighth leading cause of death in the world. The new report says on top of the 1.5 million people who died from diabetes in 2012, high blood-sugar levels are linked to 2.2 million deaths that year.

This news comes just as a study published in JAMA points out the cost of insulin, which is a common diabetes treatment, has increased by almost 200 percent from 2002 to 2013. It also found patients are needing more insulin for each treatment.

But adults living in low-income countries in South-East Asia and the Western Pacific account for half of the world's diabetes cases, and they don't have the same access to medicine as other parts of the world.

WHO did stress it believes many deaths related to diabetes, especially those before the age of 70, can be prevented through better detection of the disease and healthier lifestyles.

This video includes clips from American Diabetes Association and images from Getty Images.