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350 million suffering from diabetes worldwide

An estimated 350 million people are suffering from diabetes worldwide, says an international study published in The Lancet medical journal.

world Updated: Jun 27, 2011 00:04 IST

An estimated 350 million people are suffering from diabetes worldwide, says an international study published in The Lancet medical journal.

Researchers from Imperial College London and Harvard University analysed data from 2.7 million people, aged 25 and over, across every continent, using statistical techniques to project a worldwide figure, to estimate diabetes prevalence.

They claim the total number of people with diabetes, which can be fatal, has risen from 153 million to 347 million in the past three decades, considerably higher than a 2009 estimate of 285 million. Across the three decades, the proportion of men with diabetes rose by 18% from 8.3% to 9.8%. The proportion of women with diabetes increased even sharper, from 7.5% to 9.2%, an increase of 23%.

Prof Majid Ezzati of Imperial College London, the lead researcher, said, "Diabetes is one of the biggest causes of morbidity (illness) and mortality worldwide." "Our study has shown that diabetes is becoming more common across the world. This is in contrast to blood pressure and cholesterol, which have both fallen in many regions. Diabetes is much harder to prevent and treat."

Every region of the planet has seen a rise in the disease prevalence, says the study, which was carried out in conjunction with the World Health Organisation (WHO).

Diabetes is the result of poorly controlled sugar levels in the blood, and it can lead to serious complications such as damage to the kidneys, blindness, nerve damage, heart disease and limb loss.