Diabetes is a ‘Global Epidemic’ That Hurts Economies

Last year, close to 400 million people worldwide suffered from diabetes, and 90 percent of those cases were diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. Diabetes continually leads to the death of a minimum of 1.5 million people each year and comes with a global economic cost of $612 billion.

A new study conducted by the University of East Anglia in Norwich, England looks at the global impact of type 2 diabetes on both workers and businesses. Today, one in 12 people have diabetes and it came to the conclusion that more than half a billion people could be diagnosed with diabetes by the year 2033, unless something is done beforehand.

The study reported that 10 percent of patients have type 1 diabetes, an auto-immune disorder that is discovered in childhood. However, a large portion of the remaining sum of patients have type 2 diabetes, an ailment that is derived from a poor diet and a lack of exercise.

Indeed, the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom have some of the highest rates of diabetes, but the trend seems to be residents in developing countries contracting the issue. For instance, the global average diabetes rate is 8.3 percent, but in China and India that number shoots up to 10 percent. Overall, two-thirds of new diabetes cases are situated in China, India, Egypt and Mexico.


Researchers observed the data of more than 100 studies to determine the global economic impact of diabetes. The results suggested that the U.S. is the most expensive place to have diabetes because healthcare costs are estimated to be roughly $283,000 over the course of one’s life. A woman diagnosed with diabetes can lose out on just under $22,000 in earnings.

Treatment costs vary from region to region. In Mexico, for example, patients pay close to half of the cost of the treatment. In Pakistan, sufferers spend about 18 percent of their income on treatment. In India, the government spends about $1,500 per diabetic.

In other words, healthcare costs spike, productivity levels diminish and economic elements are affected because of diabetes.

“Diabetes has become an epidemic. The rising prevalence of diabetes in these countries has been fuelled by rapid urbanization, changing eating habits, and increasingly sedentary lifestyles,” said lead study author Till Seuring in a statement. “Diabetes affects 382 million people worldwide, and that number is expected to grow to 592 million by 2035. It is a chronic disease that has spread widely in recent decades – not only in high-income countries, but also in many populous low and middle-income countries such as India and China.”

Seuring added that policymakers have to study the conclusions of the research because then governments of developed countries can start investing in diabetes prevention and management, while also urging governments in third-world countries to begin understanding the risks of diabetes.

In addition to healthcare and treatment, consumers should be a lot more careful about what food they consume. Instead of snacking on potato chips, drinking soda pop and imbibing chocolate bars, people have to start eating fruits for breakfast, vegetables for lunch and white meat for dinner. Health experts recommend to hone in on carbs, fiber, fat, and salt when eating.

Moreover, plenty of exercise and drinking eight glasses of water per day can reduce the effects of type 2 diabetes.