World Diabetes Day is being marked around the globe on November 14. The disease is common in many households across the country. Thus, it comes as no surprise that Pakistan in now among the top ten countries in the world for diabetes prevalence.
The International Diabetes Federation has released new figures highlighting the alarming growth of diabetes around the world. The numbers are staggering- 463 million people are living with diabetes today. Diabetes is one of the fast growing health challenges of the 21st Century with the number of adults living with the disease having more than doubled in the past 20 years.
The global body reports that diabetes is rising and will continue to rise even further. In 2000, the global estimate of adults living with diabetes was 151 million. By 2009 it had grown by 88% to 285 million. A further 1.1 million children and adolescents under the age of 20, live with type 1 diabetes.
A decade ago, in 2010, the global projection for diabetes in 2025 was 438 million. With over five years still to go, that prediction has already been surpassed by 25 million. The body estimates that there will be 578 million adults with diabetes by 2030, and 700 million by 2045.
The figures in Pakistan are equally distressing. Over 19 million people are estimated to be living with diabetes in the country. A more worrying fact is around 8.5 million people are undiagnosed and may be particularly at risk. It is projected that the number of people with diabetes in Pakistan will exceed that in the USA by 2045, moving the country to third place.
The report states that Type 2 diabetes, the most common insulin-resistance type, accounts for up to 90 percent of the total patients affected by the disease. The increasing prevalence of diabetes worldwide is driven by several complex socioeconomic, demographic, environmental and genetic factors. The continued rise is largely due factors such as the rising levels of obesity, unhealthy diets and widespread physical inactivity.
Diabetes increases the risk of early death. Approximately 4.2 million adults will die as a result of diabetes and its complications in 2019. This is equivalent to one death every eight seconds. Globally, 11.3% of deaths are due to diabetes. Almost half of these deaths are in people under 60 years of age.
Diabetes is regarded as a lifelong condition that requires continuous self-management. However, there are interventions and lifestyle changes that can improve the health outcomes of people living with or at risk of diabetes. The government must also ensure that diabetes is included in the healthcare system.