The International Diabetes Federation (IDF) is an umbrella organization of over 200 national diabetes associations in over one hundred sixty countries. Besides promoting diabetes care and prevention, often the IDF tracks statistics on diabetes and diabetics for a worldwide basis.

The Federation publishes the Diabetes Atlas, a collection of statistics and comments on diabetes which is supplied from time-to-time. The Atlas is based on data supplied by its participants. As these are national associations, the facts and figures publicized by the IDF are considered quite reliable.

According to the 6th copy of the IDF Diabetes Atlas, which was published in 2013, the total population of the world is 7. 2 billion. This can be expected to have risen to 8. 7 billion by 2035, ie in 22 years time.

This total people includes 4. 6 billion adults and these has been believed to reach 5. 9 billion by 2035. The IDF defines an adult as a person aged 20-79 years, essentially the most likely age range for the development of type 2 diabetes.

According to the Diabetes Atlas, 382 million people around the world or 8. 3% of the 4. 6 million adults (20-79 years) are projected to be suffering from diabetes. Almost half of all adults having diabetes are aged 40-59 years, the age range that people are at their most productive phase in life.

The number of those that have type 2 diabetes is increasing in every country. If current general trends continue, the IDF expects that there will be more than 592 million diabetics by 2035, a rise of 55%, if one adult in ten will be diabetic.

Undiagnosed diabetes

Type 2 diabetes may be undiagnosed for several reasons. There are few indicators in the early years of the disease. In addition , the complications range so widely that, even when symptoms do exist, diabetes probably are not recognised as the cause.

The IDF figure for 382 million diabetics in 2013 includes 175 million that happen to be undiagnosed. I must admit I was astounded when I first read this 46% of diabetics are undiagnosed. How can you count one thing if you don’t know it exists?

Estimating the number of undiagnosed diabetics, I discovered, is relatively easy. All the IDF had to do was to pay for tests for a sample of people living in a particular area. The actual tests, which are carried out by the IDF’s national associates, distinguish both known and unknown cases of diabetes, and is particularly a simple mathematical exercise to extrapolate to the population in its entirety with a high degree of accuracy.

Many (but not all) persons who know they have the disease will be making many attempts to beat their diabetes. The problem with undiagnosed diabetes is that these diabetics will not be managing their blood glucose levels and may be developing complications, such as kidney sickness, heart failure, retinopathy and neuropathy, unbeknownst to their selves.

Regional differences

The Diabetes Atlas provides statistics to get 219 countries which the IDF have grouped into eight regions: Africa, Europe, the Middle East & North South africa, North America & the Caribbean, South & Central The us, South-east Asia, and the Western Pacific.

The IDF reports that 80% of diabetics live in low- and middle-income countries where the disease is increasing very fast and appearing a threat to development. The prevalence of diabetic, however , varies widely from region to region and country to help country. It also varies widely within regions… to an amount that suggests that the grouping of countries into regions by IDF needs revising.

While about 8% of people (aged 20-79) in the Western Pacific have diabetes, in many countries in that region the proportion of adult diabetes sufferers is much higher. In Tokelau, for example , 37. 5% associated with adults are diabetic. The figure for the Federated Expresses of Micronesia is 35%.

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