Diabetes across the globe

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Diabetes mellitus is a disease in which the body’s ability to produce or respond to the hormone insulin is impaired, resulting in abnormal metabolism of carbohydrates and elevated levels of glucose in the blood. Type 1 diabetes is a condition in which the pancreas produces little or no insulin, whereas type 2 diabetes, the most common type of diabetes, is caused by a combination of inadequate production of insulin and an inability of the body to respond fully to insulin (insulin resistance). A third type of diabetes occurs only during pregnancy – so called gestational diabetes – which causes high blood glucose levels during pregnancy and usually disappears after childbirth1.

Type 2 diabetes is mostly seen in adults, but is increasingly being diagnosed in children and adolescents. Being overweight is a main cause of type 2 diabetes, which is influenced by lifestyle factors such as poor diet, lack of physical activity, and excessive alcohol consumption1. The presence of higher blood sugar levels, but not at the level required for diagnosis of type 2 diabetes, is often termed ‘pre-diabetes’14.

Data from 2019 suggests that:

  • Approximately 463 million people were living with diabetes (type 1 and 2) globally. This is predicted to increase to 700 million by 204514.
  • Type 2 diabetes is the most common type of diabetes, accounting for around 90% of all cases worldwide14.
  • In Europe, about 59 million people have diabetes (types 1 and 2), representing 8.9% of the population aged 20-79 years: it is estimated that this figure will reach 68.1 million by 204514.

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