Diabetes affects about 350 mn adults globally

June 26th, 2011 - 2:26 pm ICT by IANS  

London, June 26 (IANS) The number of adults with diabetes reached a staggering 347 million in 2008, more than double the number in 1980, according to a major international study.

Diabetes occurs when the cells of the body are not able to take up sugar in the form of glucose. As a consequence, the amount of glucose in the blood is higher than normal.

Over time, this raises the risk of heart disease and stroke, and can also cause damage to kidneys, nerves and retinas, reports the journal, The Lancet.

The study, the largest of its kind on diabetes, was carried out by a global team led by Majid Ezzati, a professor from Imperial College, London and co-led by Goodarz Danaei from the Harvard School of Public Health, in collaboration with the World Health Organization (WHO) and other institutions.

Funding for the study came from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the WHO, according to an Imperial College statement.

High blood glucose and diabetes are responsible for over three million deaths worldwide each year.

The new study found that between 1980 and 2008, the number of adults with diabetes rose from 153 million to 347 million.

Seventy percent of the rise was due to population growth and ageing.

The proportion of adults with diabetes rose to 9.8 percent of men and 9.2 percent of women in 2008, compared with 8.3 percent of men and 7.5 percent of women in 1980.

The estimated number of diabetics was considerably higher than a previous study in 2009 which put the worldwide number at 285 million.

Ezzati, from the Imperial College’s School of Public Health, said: “Diabetes is becoming more common almost everywhere in the world. This is in contrast to blood pressure and cholesterol, which have both fallen in many regions. Diabetes is much harder to prevent and treat than these other conditions.”

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