Diabetes Globally

Diabetes Globally

Diabetes is the world’s fastest growing chronic disease. It currently affects 246 million people worldwide and this number is expected to rise to 380 million by 2025.

On 20 December 2006 the UN General Assembly passed UN Resolution 61/225 recognising diabetes as a major health crisis facing all nations of the world. The Resolution designates 14 November each year as the United Nations World Diabetes Day and calls on all nations to develop national policies for the prevention, treatment and care of people living with diabetes and those at risk of developing diabetes.

Fast Facts

Diabetes currently affects 246 million people worldwide and is expected to affect 380 million by 2025.

  • In 2007, the five countries with the largest numbers of people with diabetes are India (40.9 million), China (39.8 million), the United States (19.2 million), Russia (9.6 million) and Germany (7.4 million)
  • In 2007, the five countries with the highest diabetes prevalence in the adult population are Nauru (30.7%), United Arab Emirates(19.5%), Saudi Arabia(16.7%), Bahrain (15.2%) and Kuwait (14.4%)
  • By 2025, the largest increases in diabetes prevalence will take place in developing countries
  • Each year a further 7 million people develop diabetes
  • Each year 3.8 million deaths are attributable to diabetes. An even greater number die from cardiovascular disease made worse by diabetes-related lipid disorders and hypertension
  • Every 10 seconds a person dies from diabetes-related causes
  • Every 10 seconds two people develop diabetes
  • Diabetes is the fourth leading cause of global death by disease
  • At least 50% of all people with type 2 diabetes are unaware of their condition. In some countries this figure may reach 80%
  • Up to 60% of type 2 diabetes is preventable by adopting a healthy diet and increasing physical activity
  • Diabetes is the largest cause of kidney failure in developed countries and is responsible for huge dialysis costs
  • Type 2 diabetes has become the most frequent condition in people with kidney failure in countries of the Western world
  • 10% to 20% of people with diabetes will die of renal failure
  • It is estimated that more than 2.5 million people worldwide are affected by diabetic retinopathy
  • Diabetic retinopathy is the leading cause of vision loss in adults of working age (20 to 65 years) in industrialised countries
  • On average, people with type 2 diabetes will die 5-10 years before people without diabetes, mostly due to cardiovascular disease
  • Cardiovascular disease is the major cause of death in diabetes, accounting for some 50% of all diabetes fatalities, and much disability
  • People with type 2 diabetes are over twice as likely to have a heart attack or stroke as people who do not have diabetes. Indeed, people with type 2 diabetes are as likely to suffer a heart attack as people without diabetes who have already had a heart attack.

Diabetes Atlas, third edition, International Diabetes Federation, 2007
Diabetes and Cardiovascular Disease: Time to Act, International Diabetes Federation, 2001
World Health Organisation Diabetes Unit


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