Geneva, Apr 6 – The number of adults estimated to be living with diabetes surged to 422 million by 2014, a nearly four-fold increase on 1980 figures, the World Health Organization (WHO) said Wednesday, in its first-ever global report on the disease.
“Globally, an estimated 422 million adults were living with diabetes in 2014, compared to 108 million in 1980,” the UN health agency said, warning that the condition had spread because of worldwide changes “in the way people eat, move and live.”
The disease directly caused 1.5 million deaths in 2012, but elevated blood glucose levels linked to diabetes were responsible for an additional 2.2 million deaths that year, the report said.
Diabetes is divided into two types.
There is no known way to prevent type one, which occurs when the pancreas does not produce enough insulin.
Most people living with diabetes have type 2, which is associated with obesity and other lifestyle factors and emerges in adults and increasingly among children.
To curb the intensifying burden of the disease, huge efforts were needed to change global “eating and physical activity habits,” especially early in life, when key behavioural patterns are formed, WHO said.