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Diabetes Cases to Increase 90 percent by 2030

Posted on Jan 30, 2013

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), in 1985 an estimated 30 million people worldwide had diabetes. Ten years later, the number was 135 million. The current estimate is 346 million. If the trend continues, the International Diabetes Federation predicts that by 2030, 522 million people will have diabetes. That is one out of every 10 adults.

It’s expected that the number of diabetes cases will increase substantially around the world. Even Africa is expected to have a 90 percent rise in diabetes cases.

Why? Well, according to WHO, the biggest increase will be in cases of type 2 diabetes, which tends to develop in middle age. Given that people are living longer, an aging population means more cases of diabetes, and more diabetes-related deaths.

About 4 million deaths a year can be attributed to diabetes and diabetes complications. WHO expects this number to double by 2030. Currently, more than 80 percent of diabetes-related deaths occur in developing nations.

Diabetes costs more than lives. In the United States, the cost of diabetes is more than $174 billion each year. On average, medical expenses for people with diagnosed diabetes are more than twice what the costs would be if they didn’t have the disease. Diabetes accounts for roughly 10 percent of U.S. health care costs and more than $2.5 billion in payment of Social Security disability benefits.

These figures are based on changing demographics, not on obesity rates. The International Diabetes Federation warned that these numbers are conservative.

Is this number set it stone? No, many future diabetes cases are preventable. 

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John L. Keefe
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Founding Attorney of Keefe Disability Law