The Grim Reality: Diabetes Cases to Soar to 1.3 Billion by 2050
Are you aware that in just thirty years from now, the number of people suffering from diabetes will reach a staggering 1.3 billion worldwide? This is according to the International Diabetes Federation (IDF).
The world has been grappling with diabetes for years. Before the COVID outbreak, the disease was one of the leading killers globally. In 2019, a total of 2.2 million deaths globally were attributed to diabetes. Despite various awareness campaigns carried out by different organizations, the situation has continued to worsen over the years to the extent that it has now been declared a public health emergency.
What is Diabetes?
Diabetes is a medical condition that occurs when the body fails to produce or use insulin hormone effectively. Insulin, produced in the pancreas, helps to regulate blood sugar levels by breaking down glucose before it is passed into the bloodstream. People with diabetes, therefore, experience abnormally high levels of glucose in the blood, a condition known as hyperglycemia.
There are two types of diabetes: type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes. Type 1 diabetes, which affects about 5-10% of all diabetes cases, is an autoimmune disorder whereby the immune system destroys insulin-producing cells in the pancreas. On the other hand, type 2 diabetes, also known as adult-onset diabetes, is by far the most common type of diabetes, accounting for 90-95% of all diabetes cases.
Type 2 diabetes is usually caused by a sedentary lifestyle, excessive consumption of sugar, obesity, and a family history of diabetes. The condition can be managed through a combination of lifestyle changes and medication, but it’s not curable.
Why is Diabetes Such a Huge Problem?
Diabetes is a huge problem because of the adverse effects it has on the body. Uncontrolled and untreated diabetes can lead to several complications, including kidney failure, blindness, nerve damage, and cardiovascular disease. People with diabetes are also at a higher risk of developing infections since the elevated levels of glucose in the blood weaken the immune system.
Besides the health implications, diabetes has a significant impact on the global economy. According to the International Diabetes Federation, in 2019, the global healthcare expenditure on diabetes was estimated to be $760 billion, with more than 80% of the costs being shouldered by low-to-middle-income countries. The enormous financial burden of diabetes risks crippling the already fragile healthcare systems in these countries.
Why the Steep Increase in Diabetes Cases?
The sharp rise in diabetes cases is attributed to several factors, including population growth, ageing, unhealthy lifestyles, and obesity. During the past three decades, the world’s population has increased significantly, leading to an increase in the number of people diagnosed with diabetes.
Moreover, ageing is also a significant factor in the rise of diabetes cases. As people grow older, their susceptibility to developing diabetes increases. In addition, unhealthy lifestyles, such as a lack of exercise and a diet high in sugar, have also played a massive role in the increased prevalence of diabetes.
Lastly, the rise in obesity is a primary reason for the steep increase in diabetes cases. According to the World Health Organization, obesity has tripled globally since 1975. Obesity puts a strain on the body’s ability to produce and use insulin hormone effectively, leading to the development of type 2 diabetes.
What Can We Do?
There is no cure for diabetes, but the condition can be managed through lifestyle changes and medication. To keep diabetes in check, individuals need to eat a healthy diet, engage in regular physical activity, keep their weight in check, and regularly monitor their blood sugar levels.
Besides individual efforts, governments and health organizations must also step in to address the escalating diabetes crisis. Governments need to come up with policies that encourage healthy eating habits, promote physical activity and make healthcare services accessible to everyone. Health organizations can also chip in by conducting regular awareness campaigns to educate the public on the risks and preventive measures of diabetes.
The escalating number of diabetes cases is a ticking time bomb that threatens global health and economies. The steep increase is fueled by lifestyle-related factors such as unhealthy eating habits and obesity, among others. As the number of diabetes cases continues to soar, it’s critical for individuals, governments, health organizations, and policymakers to work hand in hand to develop sustainable solutions to keep the disease in control.
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The number of people suffering from diabetes will reach a staggering 1.3 billion worldwide by 2050. This disease is caused by a failure to produce or use insulin hormone effectively. The sharp rise in diabetes cases is attributed to several factors, including population growth, aging, unhealthy lifestyles, and obesity. Diabetes has a significant impact on the global economy, with the enormous financial burden of diabetes risking crippling the already fragile healthcare systems in low-to-middle-income countries. Governments and health organizations must step in to address the escalating diabetes crisis by developing sustainable solutions to keep the disease in control. #HEALTH