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Diabetes cases soar, 1-in-11 adults affected: doctors

Most people have Type 2 diabetes, which is linked to obesity and other lifestyle factors, and emerges in adults and increasingly in children. ©AFP

Paris (AFP) - More than 460 million people -- 1-in-11 adults -- now suffer from diabetes, largely brought on by an over-rich lifestyle short on exercise, the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) said Thursday.

Releasing its latest Diabetes Atlas, the IDF said the current number of 463 million sufferers would jump to 578 million by 2030 and to 700 million by 2045, posing huge challenges for treatment and management of a disease which already a top-10 killer worldwide.

The IDF said the report shows an increase of 38 million cases over its previous survey in 2017 and noted that "more than half (50.1 percent) of adult sufferers (are) undiagnosed."

People with diabetes have excessively high levels of blood sugar from food.

As a result they are more likely to suffer debilitating complications such as heart attacks, strokes and other serious medical conditions, leading to reduced life expectancy and potentially huge healthcare bills.

Most sufferers have Type 2 diabetes, which is linked to obesity and other lifestyle factors, and emerges in adults and increasingly in children. 

Type 1 diabetes, which cannot be prevented, is caused when the pancreas does not produce enough insulin, the hormone that regulates blood sugar levels. 

IDF head Nam H. Cho said in a statement on the occasion of World Diabetes Day that the disease "is a serious global health issue that has a huge socio-economic impact that cannot be ignored."

"The rising prevalence of diabetes is a real cause for concern, especially when we consider the high number of people who remain undiagnosed," Cho said.

The IDF estimates the diabetes health cost in 2019 at $760 billion (690 billion euros).

The World Health Organization announced Wednesday the launch of an initiative to cut prices and increase insulin access as the number of sufferers increases.

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