Taking care of our health is about to become even more important as we age, according to a new study of global inequality in diabetes recently published by the prestigious Lancet and The Lancet Diabetes and Endocrinology is sending alarm bells through the international medical community.
The team of 23 researchers concluded that worldwide incidences of Type 2 diabetes will more than double by 2050 across all countries, ages, and sexes – asserting that it will be “a defining disease of this century.”
Currently, almost 530 million people globally are diagnosed with diabetes, and the study estimates that more than 1.31 billion people will have diabetes by 2050. The current global population is 8 billion people.
The United Nations projects that the world population will be roughly 9.8 billion people by 2050, meaning that roughly 1-in-7 people globally will be diagnosed with the disease; nearly doubling the current estimate of 1-in-15 people with the disease.
Type 2 diabetes, caused largely by obesity, is preventable and for some even reversible. It is also linked to increased risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, nerve damage, kidney failure, stroke, vision problems, Alzheimer's, cancers, depression, and could potentially result in amputations or blindness.
Such a dramatic rise in diabetes diagnoses is made more concerning by the fact that it is expected to disproportionately affect people over the age of 65.
Rocketing Type 2 diabetes diagnoses poses serious risk for international healthcare systems.
Recent strides in medications to help counter diabetes, such as Ozempic and Wegovy, boomed and even created a nationwide shortage in the U.S..
Although every country can expect a sharp increase in diabetes diagnoses, some are anticipated to be worse. Researchers found countries in North Africa, Latin America, the Middle East, and the Caribbean are predicted to see the highest increase.
Researchers also concluded that “geographic inequity” will disproportionately strain developing countries’ healthcare systems, versus more developed nations, such as the U.S., which has greater capacity to grapple with increases in healthcare demands.