Diabetes Awareness: Learn More About the Condition that is Estimated to Affect More Than 425 Million Adults Worldwide

November 1, 2019

You may have heard of diabetes, but do you know what causes the condition and ways you can minimize your risk? November is Diabetes Awareness Month, and this year’s theme is about empowering families to know the warning signs.

It is estimated that diabetes affects more than 425 million adults around the world.1 According to the International Diabetes Federation (IDF), that equates to 1 in 11 adults.1 Meanwhile, 1 in 2 adults, or 212 million of those people, have diabetes but are undiagnosed, leaving them at risk for health complications and even early death.1

And the problem is growing. The number of those living with diabetes is expected to rise to 629 million adults by the year 2045.1

That’s a significant health challenge, but it’s also an economic challenge. An estimated 12%, or $727 billion annually, of global health expenditures are spent on diabetes-related healthcare.1 Patients with diabetes often face medical costs two times higher than those without the disease, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 2017 National Diabetes Statistics Report.2

What is Diabetes?

Diabetes occurs when the body no longer produces insulin or cannot properly use the insulin being produced.3 There are three main types of diabetes:

  • Type 1 diabetes occurs when the body stops making insulin.
  • Type 2 diabetes is the most prevalent type and occurs when the body doesn’t use its own insulin well. According to the IDF, Type 2 diabetes was once commonly seen in older adults but is becoming an increasing problem in young adults and children due to obesity, poor diet and a lack of physical activity.
  • Gestational diabetes can occur in women who are pregnant.

Symptoms of the disease can include excessive thirst, frequent urination, lack of energy, slow healing wounds, and numbness in your feet or hands.4 Those with diabetes are at an increased risk of a variety of conditions, including heart disease, stroke and lower limb amputation.5

Who is at Risk?

There are several factors that can increase your risk for developing diabetes. They include obesity, unhealthy eating habits, lack of exercise, a family history of diabetes and high blood pressure. By eating healthy, adopting a more active lifestyle and early detection and treatment, it is possible to properly manage this chronic, progressive disease.

Learn more about diabetes and its prevalence around the world from the International Diabetes Federation, which sponsors World Diabetes Day on Nov. 14.

1 International Diabetes Federation. IDF Diabetes Atlas, 8th edn. Brussels, Belgium: International Diabetes Federation, 2017. http://www.diabetesatlas.org. Accessed August 2019.

2 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Diabetes Statistics Report, 2017. https://www.cdc.gov/features/diabetes-statistic-report/index.html

3 International Diabetes Federation - What is diabetes. [online] Idf.org. Available at: https://www.idf.org/aboutdiabetes/what-is-diabetes.html. Accessed September 5, 2019.

4 International Diabetes Federation – Type 2 Diabetes [online] Idf.org. Available at: https://www.idf.org/aboutdiabetes/type-2-diabetes.html. Accessed September 5, 2019.

5 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Diabetes Statistics Report, 2017. https://www.cdc.gov/features/diabetes-statistic-report/index.html