Worldwide Prevalence of Diabetes –we are not alone!

By Dr Nizam Muhammad Darwesh (MBBS, MD, MSc, PhD)

A recent publication of the IDF Diabetes Atlas—Sixth Edition 2015 describes that Diabetes costs to society are high and escalating, and that in Europe alone the number of people with diabetes will rise from 52 million to 69 million in 2035.. Every 7 seconds 1 person dies from diabetes and 1 in 2 people with diabetes do not know they have it.

Furthermore 875 million are living with diabetes with 8.3% prevalence and 46.3% remain undiagnosed. In the UK, five individuals are diagnosed with diabetes every ten minutes, and over half a million individuals in the United Kingdom are living with undiagnosed diabetes.

Diabetes reported that in 2014 Diabetes is a severe, chronic health condition, which is a major problem in the UK. The Diabetes prevalence has doubled since 1996 to 3.3 million and is estimated to affect over five million people by 2025, due to our maturing population and mounting levels of obesity, significant number of cases are Type 2 diabetes. 90% of diabetes cases are type 2 (Diabetes UK, 2014). Diabetes is presented in 8.5% of male and 6% of female aged between 40 to 64, and 15.7% of male and 10.4% of female age between 56 to 74.

If the condition is not adequately managed, an individual with diabetes has a life expectancy 6-20 years lower than a healthy individual. Annually, diabetes is linked to approximately 75,000 deaths. Individuals with diabetes have an increased risk of developing severe health complications, which can have a significant effect on independence, financial prospects and in general, quality of life. Diabetes can cause kidney disease, limb amputations and cardiovascular disease (Diabetes UK 2015).

In the United Kingdom amongst the working age group diabetes is common cause of low vision (Kushner and Arun), however, a recent study in the UK has found that, Retinopathy and Maculopathy is no longer the primary reason of blindness in this age group, (Gerald, 2014). The majority of the complications associated with diabetes are preventable with good prospects through timely diagnosis, education of patients and the availability of a support network. Appraisals demonstrate that over one hundred amputations are carried out every week as a result of complications associated with diabetes, with 80 per cent of cases being preventable (NHS Right Care), According to (Diabetes UK, 2015), programmes needed to run on a national scale to improve and provide awareness about heart diseases, cancer and stroke.

Ethnic minorities due to limited accessibility to healthcare facilities can play a part in increasing the burden of risk and consequently can lead to the development of health inequality amongst ethnic minorities or individuals of a lower socioeconomic group. British Asians seem to display an increased predisposition to diabetes, and furthermore, both the British black Caribbean and black Africans are four or five times more likely to experience glaucoma associated to diabetes and according to Diabetes UK the incidence of diabetes is greater in these ethnic minorities. We hope that these devastating statistics will help us all focus our minds on living a more healthy lifestyle and realising the benefits of taking control and managing our diabetes