There were approximately 464 million people worldwide in 2019 who had diabetes. Diabetes is slightly more prevalent in men, individuals who have an immediate family member with the disease are at greater risk for developing diabetes, and a key challenge in low and middle-income countries is insulin access and storage. Current treatments for diabetes are insulin and a medication called Metformin, while potential treatments for the disease in the future are cell therapy and "a bioengineered mini-organ where insulin-producing cells are encapsulated within a protective barrier."
- The number of people with diabetes globally in 2019 totaled approximately 464 million.
- In 2017, there were 449.3 million adults (ages 20-79) worldwide who had diabetes. Of that total, 326.5 million were between the ages of 20 and 64 and 122.8 million were between the ages of 65 and 79. We also provided a screenshot of that data graph in this Google Doc.
- In 2014, there were 422 million diabetics worldwide.
Prevalence in Men vs. Women
- In 2019, the estimated diabetes prevalence rate among women worldwide was 9%.
- In 2014, the prevalence rate of diabetes among women worldwide was 7.9%.
- We also found that "women with type 1 diabetes have a 40% higher excess risk of premature death than men with the disease."
- In 2019, the estimated diabetes prevalence rate among men worldwide was 9.6%.
- In 2014, the prevalence rate of diabetes among men worldwide was 9%.
Group Most Affected By Diabetes
- With regard to type 1 diabetes, those most affected by it (have the greatest chance of developing it) are individuals who have an immediate family member with the disease and children, young adults, and teenagers because that's the most-common age range for developing the disease (though a person of any age can develop it).
- With regard to type 2 diabetes, those most affected by it (have the greatest chance of developing it) are those who are ages 45+, inactive, overweight, have prediabetes, previously had gestational diabetes, and/or those with an immediate family member who has type 2 diabetes. Most of those risk factors (the group most affected) are the same for prediabetes.
Challenges in Low & Middle-Income Countries
- From a prevention standpoint, such efforts with regard to diabetes "remain rudimentary in most developing countries." The importance of that challenge is magnified by the fact that in 2019, "79% of adults with diabetes were living in low- and middle-income countries."
- Substantial challenges pertaining to diabetes In low and middle-income countries include "[t]he cost of diagnostic tests and scarcity of health manpower", including for monitoring those with diabetes.
- The medical infrastructure in low and middle-income countries also presents another challenge with regard to diabetes, as "[r]eliable laboratories, patient education programs, glucose monitoring equipment and access to medical clinics can be difficult to access in some countries."
- Insulin access and storage are other key challenge in low and middle-income countries, as it "can be expensive and difficult to find in some countries", plus individuals in those countries "might not have the resources to keep" insulin stored in a location with cool temperatures, which it has to be.
- Insulin is "[t]he main medication for managing type 1 diabetes. " Insulin is needed for individuals who have type 1 diabetes because "the pancreas of a person with type 1 does not produce the hormone [insulin]."
- Type 1 diabetics have "to receive insulin at several points throughout the day," including prior to or after eating.
- The insulin can be injected into the body via insulin pump, needle/syringe, insulin pen, inhaler, jet injector ("a fine, high-pressure spray into the skin"), or through an injection port.
- Since people with type 2 diabetes don't always need insulin, some take medications to manage their levels of blood sugar. One of those popular medications is Metformin, which "helps reduce blood sugar and make insulin more effective, as well as assisting weight loss, which can also reduce the effects of diabetes."
- Other types of medications for people with type 2 diabetes are alpha-glucosidase inhibitors, biguanides (which Metformin is one of), bile acid sequestrants, DPP-4 inhibitors, meglitinides, SGLT2 inhibitors, sulfonylureas, thiazolidinediones, and GLP-1 agonists.
- A potential, future treatment for diabetes is "a bioengineered mini-organ where insulin-producing cells are encapsulated within a protective barrier." This potential treatment is being developed by the Diabetes Research Institute. As a showing of the positive potential of this prospective, future treatment, "the first patient in Europe treated with this approach in an ongoing phase I/II trial no longer requires insulin therapy."
- Viacyte is a company in the U.S. developing that type of bioengineered organ for the treatment of diabetes and the phase 1 trial of its device was deemed safe, so currently Viacyte is "working on improving the engraftment of insulin-producing cells."
- Another potential, future treatment for diabetes is cell therapy, which has been described as "one of the biggest hopes towards developing a cure for diabetes, especially for type 1 diabetes."
- If a successful way to use cell therapy is developed for the treatment of diabetes, missing cells that produce insulin "could potentially recover normal insulin production and cure patients."
- Sanofi and Evotec have teamed-up and are currently working on developing "a beta cell replacement therapy for diabetics."