The number of diabetes cases in adults has more than doubled in the past three decades to 347 million, a study has revealed.
The number is far higher than previously estimated, and could have serious repercussions on the costs of treatment for those with diabetes.
According to a study published in The Lancet, an international research team working in collaboration with The World Health Organization, found that diabetes rates have risen or stayed the same in almost all parts of the world over the past three decades.
Previous predictions had put the figure of adults with diabetes at a much lower 285 million. However, this study has increased that figure to 347 million worldwide.
According to the study approximately 138 million in China have diabetes, and 36 million in the U.S.
The study was led by Majid Ezzati, from London’s Imperial College in England and Goodarz Danaei from the Harvard School of Public Health in the U.S.
According to Reuters, Ezzati said: “Diabetes is becoming more common almost everywhere in the world.”
Danaei added: “Unless we develop better programs for detecting people with elevated blood sugar and helping them to improve their diet and physical activity and control their weight, diabetes will inevitably continue to impose a major burden on health systems around the world.”
Diabetes is known to increase the risk of other health issues such as heart disease, stroke, kidney damage, and blindness. Studies have shown that diabetes contributes to about 3 million deaths each year.
The study analyzed data compiled from 2.7 million participants aged 25 and over from across the world.
Approximately 70 percent of the increase in diabetes over the past 30 years can be contributed to population growth, the study says. However, 30 percent is due to higher occurrence.
The study shows that at 2008, 9.8 percent of adult men now have diabetes, and 9.2 percent of women. This is an increase from 8.3 percent and 7.5 percent respectively in 1980.