New Study Says Half a Billion People on the Planet Have Diabetes and Many Have No Idea–We Don’t Know How they Know That

(© Andrey Popov –

As one pandemic begins to fade away, a new study finds another is continuing to grip the entire world. Researchers find that almost half a billion people globally have diabetes, although many don’t know they have it. The number of cases have more than quadrupled since 1980, when there were around 108 million living with the condition.

The study also shows, however, that only one in 10 are getting the level of care they need to make their lives healthier, longer, and more productive. Although researchers say diabetes was more common in affluent countries in the past, it is now more likely to affect impoverished nations in Africa, the Americas, and South East Asia.

“Diabetes continues to explode everywhere, in every country, and 80 percent of people with it live in these low and middle income countries,” says lead author Dr. David Flood from the University of Michigan in a release.

Failing to control blood sugar levels can have devastating health consequences. Diabetes triples the risk of a heart attack and leaves people 20 times more likely to undergo a leg amputation. It can also lead to stroke, kidney failure, blindness, nerve damage, and complications during pregnancy.

“We can prevent these complications with comprehensive diabetes treatment, and we need to make sure people around the world can access treatment,” Dr. Flood explains.

Diabetes is a growing problem in the developing world

Around nine in 10 patients have type 2 diabetes, which can be a result of engaging in unhealthy lifestyles. As the world’s waistlines have ballooned, with one in three now registering as overweight, so too has the number of diabetes cases.

The CDC estimates that over 34 million Americans is currently living with diabetes and 90 percent have type 2 diabetes. The latest study, appearing in the journal Lancet Healthy Longevity, pooled data on 680,000 people between 25 and 64 years-old in 55 low and middle income countries.

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SOURCE: Study Finds