By Jeyhun Aliyev and Zuhal Demirci
ANKARA (AA) - The number of people between the ages of 20 and 79 with diabetes is expected to reach 700 million by 2045, according to the latest findings of the International Diabetes Federation (IDF).
Diabetes, one of the fastest growing health challenges of the 21st century, respects neither socioeconomic status nor geographical and national boundaries, with the number of adults living with the disease having more than tripled over the past 20 years.
Marking World Diabetes Day, Anadolu Agency correspondents compiled data from the latest edition of the IDF’s Diabetes Atlas, the authoritative resource on the global burden of diabetes, which showed that one in 11 adults aged 20-79 have diabetes.
It is estimated that 463 million adults, who represent 9.3% of the world’s population in this age group, are currently living with the disease.
If current trends continue, by 2030, the IDF predicts a 10% increase in the number of people with this health challenge to 578 million.
Around two decades ago, in contrast, the global estimate of adults living with diabetes was 151 million, which by 2009 had rapidly grown by 88% to 285 million.
While it is estimated that a vast majority -- around 80% -- of people with diabetes live in low- and middle-income countries, the latest edition of the atlas indicated that two in three people with the disease live in urban areas.
The annual global health expenditure on diabetes keeps growing each year and is forecast to stand at $760 billion in 2019, equivalent to 10% of total global health expenditure.
The global expenditure on combating the disease is also projected to reach $825 billion by 2030 and $845 billion by 2045, the report showed.
Sadly, the health threat has claimed many lives. In 2019 so far, the number of deaths resulting from diabetes and its complications reached around 4.2 million, the report said.
- What is diabetes?
Diabetes is a long-term disease that occurs when the pancreas is no longer able to make insulin -- a hormone that regulates blood sugar -- or when the body cannot make good use of the insulin it produces, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
There are three main types of diabetes:
Type 1 diabetes -- previously known as insulin-dependent diabetes -- is caused by an autoimmune reaction in which the body's immune system attacks the insulin-producing beta cells of the pancreas, and as a result, the body produces very little or no insulin. This condition requires daily administration of insulin.
The symptoms, which may occur suddenly, include frequent urination, excessive thirst, constant hunger, weight loss, blurred vision, bedwetting and a lack of energy.
Over 1.1 million children and adolescents under the age of 20 live with type 1 diabetes, according to the IDF.
Type 2 diabetes -- formerly called non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus -- is the most common type of diabetes, which accounts for around 90% of the disease worldwide and results from the body’s ineffective use of insulin, causing so-called "insulin resistance," according to the WHO.
The disease is mostly a result of excess body weight and physical inactivity.
Since the symptoms of type 2 diabetes are mostly less marked, diagnosis of the disease may come several years after its onset, causing health complications.
Gestational diabetes is characterized by high blood glucose levels, or hyperglycemia, during pregnancy.
It may occur at any time during pregnancy -- most likely after week 24 -- and usually disappears after the pregnancy.
Nevertheless, women with this type of diabetes have a high risk of complications during pregnancy and at delivery, while they and their children are also at increased risk of type 2 diabetes in the future.
An estimated 15.8% or 20.4 million live births have been affected by hyperglycemia in pregnancy in 2019.
- Country distribution of diabetes
China, India and the U.S. are the countries with the highest number of adults with diabetes aged 20-79 in 2019 and are forecast to remain so in 2030.
Meanwhile, the IDF reports foresee that the number of adults with diabetes in Pakistan will exceed that in the U.S. and will move to third place by 2045.
In Turkey, the IDF estimates around 6.6 million adults (aged 20-79 years) living with the disease in 2019.
The report also forecasts that Turkey will have 10.4 million people of the same age group with diabetes in 2045.
- World Diabetes Day
World Diabetes Day was created in 1991 by the IDF and the WHO as a response to growing concerns about the escalating health threat posed by diabetes.
With the passage of a resolution, Nov. 14 became an official UN Day in 2006 and marked the birthday of Sir Frederick Banting, who co-discovered insulin along with Charles Best in 1922.