A new study has revealed that the number of adults living with diabetes worldwide will more than double by 2050, climbing to 1.3 billion from 529 million in 2021.
The findings published in The Lancet and The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology journals have blamed rapidly rising obesity levels and widening health inequalities as the reason for the rapid rise. The paper added that no country will see a decline in age-standardised diabetes rates over the next 30 years.
The scientists said Type-2 diabetes remained the most prevalent among the patient pool, accounting for 96 per cent of the cases.
“Type 2 diabetes, which makes up the bulk of diabetes cases, is largely preventable and, in some cases, potentially reversible if identified and managed early in the disease course. However, all evidence indicates that diabetes prevalence is increasing worldwide, primarily due to a rise in obesity caused by multiple factors,” wrote the research authors.
In diabetes, the patient’s body is unable to control blood sugar levels. Currently, one in 10 adults globally is affected by diabetes and it led to 6.7 million deaths in 2021 alone.
According to the researchers, the pandemic amplified diabetes inequality globally. People who had diabetes were twice as likely to contract COVID-19 and die, compared to those without diabetes.
Racism and economic inequality
The study also mentioned racism and economic inequality as an impediment to controlling the spread of diabetes globally.
“Racist policies such as residential segregation affect where people live, their access to sufficient and healthy food and healthcare services. This cascade of widening diabetes inequity leads to substantial gaps in care and clinical outcomes for people from historically disenfranchised racial and ethnic groups, including Black, Hispanic and Indigenous people,” said co-author Leonard Egede of the Medical College of Wisconsin.
Indians suffering from diabetes
Earlier this month, another report published in the Lancet stated that India, the world’s most populous nation, is home to 101 million people with diabetes, while 136 million people are dealing with prediabetes.
The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and the Indian Ministry of Health and Family Welfare jointly financed the country’s largest epidemiological research on diabetes and chronic noncommunicable diseases (NCDs).
The western state of Goa had the most significant prevalence of diabetes, at 26.4 per cent, while the northern state of Uttar Pradesh had the lowest, at 4.8 per cent.