In a looming global diabetes crisis, a staggering 75% of adults residing in low and middle-income countries are facing the imminent risk of developing this debilitating disease by 2045.
As socio-economic disparities continue to play a significant role in healthcare outcomes, this alarming projection underscores the urgent need for targeted interventions and comprehensive strategies to address the underlying factors driving this epidemic.
With millions of lives hanging in the balance, it is imperative that global efforts prioritize equitable access to healthcare, preventive measures, and sustainable solutions to combat this escalating crisis.
The Lancet, it its new estimate published this week have shed light on a disturbing trend: the alarming rise in diabetes cases worldwide. According to the report, more than 1.31 billion people could be living with diabetes by 2050.
This disease, with its life-altering consequences and high mortality rates, not only affects individuals but also interacts with and exacerbates other health conditions. The surge in diabetes prevalence is primarily driven by the increasing rates of type 2 diabetes, which in turn is linked to the growing prevalence of obesity and shifting demographics.
The Growing Diabetes Crisis
In 2021, type 2 diabetes accounted for a staggering 90% of all diabetes cases. The burden of this disease is predominantly linked to social risk factors, including high body mass index (BMI), dietary risks, environmental and occupational hazards, tobacco and alcohol use, as well as low physical activity. These risk factors are deeply rooted in the obesogenic environments we inhabit and the inequitable distribution of resources and societal structures.
Global Inequity in Diabetes
Coinciding with the American Diabetes Association’s 83rd Scientific Session, The Lancet and The Lancet Diabetes and Endocrinology have released a Series on Global Inequity in Diabetes. The series consists of two papers—one with a global focus and the other specifically addressing the diabetes crisis in the United States. Together, these papers paint a distressing picture of the state of diabetes worldwide.
By 2045, the diabetes crisis will rise to higher proportions, it is projected that three out of four adults with diabetes will reside in low-income and middle-income countries. Shockingly, only a mere 10% of people with diabetes in these countries currently receive guideline-based diabetes care. Regardless of economic status, diabetes disproportionately affects marginalized communities in every country. The consequences of the disease are most severe for those who face discrimination and marginalization.
Diabetes Disparity in the USA
Within the United States, the burden of type 2 diabetes has nearly doubled among young people over the past two decades. The highest prevalence is observed among Black and Indigenous American populations, highlighting a disturbing disparity in healthcare outcomes. These findings emphasize the urgent need for targeted interventions and comprehensive strategies to address the root causes of diabetes and tackle the systemic inequities that perpetuate its devastating impact.
The soaring prevalence of diabetes poses a significant threat to the health and well-being of over 1.3 billion people globally by 2050. This escalating crisis is fueled by the rising rates of obesity and demographic shifts, compounded by social risk factors that thrive in our obesogenic environments and unequal societies.
To combat the growing diabetes crisis, it is crucial to implement comprehensive measures that prioritize preventive strategies, equitable access to healthcare, and addressing the social determinants of health. Only through collective action can we hope to reverse this tide of diabetes and ensure a healthier future for all.