The Global Diabetes Pandemic

The Global Diabetes Pandemic

Trends in Global Diabetes Prevalence

Diabetes is a chronic illness that affects millions of people around the world.1 Approximately 536.6 million adults aged 20-79 have type 1 or 2 diabetes across 215 countries according to the 2022 International Diabetes Federation (IDF) Diabetes Atlas. This accounts for nearly 10.5% of the world population, reaching pandemic proportions in the recent decade. Type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) is estimated to account for 90% of the total number of people affected by diabetes. In addition, with nearly 20% of the population yet unaware of their condition, the true number of adults with diabetes is expected to be even higher.2,3 The IDF projects that this trend will continue worsen, estimating that nearly 783.2 million adults will have diabetes by 2045.1


Trend by Age: Prevalence of diabetes is known to increase with age.1 The prevalence of diabetes is highest in adults aged 75-79 years, with prevalence rate of 24% among this age group. Age is known risk factor for diabetes, with studies suggesting that age-related physiological changes and lifestyle factors put older adults at a greater risk of developing especially T2DM.4


Trend by Sex: The global prevalence of diabetes is slightly higher in men than in women, with diabetes affecting 10.8% of men and 10.2% of women.1 Prevalence is reported to be greater in men among adults aged 25-69 years, with prevalence increasing in women above the age of 70. 


Trend by Countries and Regions: There is a greater prevalence of diabetes in the middle income as well as in the lowest income countries, accounting for nearly 80.6% of adults with diabetes globally.1 Urban areas are reported to have a greater diabetes prevalence, and the growing urbanization around the world is expected to contribute to the increased diabetes prevalence in urbanized regions. Diabetes prevalence is expected to increase the most in middle-income countries, approximately by 21.1%, or exceeding 200 million adults by 2045.


Trend in Healthcare Cost: The global health cost of diabetes was 966 million dollars in 2021, with North American and Caribbean regions accounting for over 40% of the total global cost of diabetes.1 It is projected that diabetes cost will grow by 9.1%, amounting to 1,054 billion by 2045.


1. Sun H, Saeedi P, Karuranga S, et al. IDF Diabetes Atlas: Global, Regional and Country-Level Diabetes Prevalence Estimates for 2021 and Projections for 2045. Diabetes Res Clin Pract. 2022;183:109119. doi:10.1016/j.diabres.2021.109119
2. Kharroubi AT, Darwish HM. Diabetes Mellitus: The Epidemic of the Century. World J Diabetes. 2015;6(6):850-867. doi:10.4239/wjd.v6.i6.850
3. Saeedi P, Petersohn I, Salpea P, et al. Global and Regional Diabetes Prevalence Estimates for 2019 and Projections for 2030 and 2045: Results from the International Diabetes Federation Diabetes Atlas, 9th Edition. Diab Res Clin Pract. 2019;157. doi:10.1016/j.diabres.2019.107843
4. Lee PG, Halter JB. The Pathophysiology of Hyperglycemia in Older Adults: Clinical Considerations. Diabetes Care. 2017;40(4):444-452. doi:10.2337/dc16-1732



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