The number of people living with diabetes could double worldwide in the next 30 years, according to a new global study.
Cases are expected to soar from 529 million to 1.3 billion by 2050 mostly because there is no current effective mitigation strategy to tackle or reduce the disease, found the study published Thursday in The Lancet and funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
While the number of cases is expected to increase in each country, the growth will be unequal.
Researchers stated rates in North Africa and the Middle East are projected to increase to 16.8 per cent from the current 9.3 per cent and 11.3 per cent in Latin America and the Caribbean by 2050. Compared to 9.5 per cent globally from the current 6.1 per cent.
The researchers say could be due to various factors including underfunded and ill-prepared health-care systems, and socioeconomic challenges such as poor nutrition, poverty and physical inactivity.
The growing number of people with diabetes is in part because of rising obesity, but also demographic shifts as the disease is most commonly found among older adults, the study showed.
The study looked at 204 countries and territories across 25 age groups, males and females separately and combined, and found the majority of the cases, globally, are type 2 diabetes, the form of the disease linked to obesity.
Diabetes, both type 1 and type 2, represent major health risks and are one of the top 10 leading causes of death and disability worldwide.
The study found that deaths due to the disease in people younger than 15-years-old were from type 1 diabetes. Compared to 70 per cent or more of deaths of people older than 25 years were because of type 2 diabetes.
This data does not include the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
While there is no consistent strategy or policies tackling diabetes globally, the study looked at preventative strategies implemented in China, Finland and the U.S. and concluded early diagnosis, patient education, and regular visits to health-care providers can “prevent or at least delay the onset of type 2 diabetes.”
The researchers say they hope there will be more strategies and policies aimed at mitigating the disease, obesity and increasing awareness of inequalities around proper treatment worldwide.