Someone Dies of Diabetes Every Seven Seconds

At least 5 percent of the world's population has the disease

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Get ready for your daily dose of sobering news from the world of medicine. According to a new estimate from the International Diabetes Federation, a whopping 366 million people worldwide have diabetes, reports Bloomberg. That constitutes 5.3 percent of the world's population, using U.S. Census Bureau estimates. And for how prevalent the disease seems to be, the world's health systems don't seem to be handling it well, collectively. On average, someone dies of diabetes every seven seconds.

The number of people with diabetes has spiked sharply since 2009, but mostly for clerical reasons. China recently reported that 92.4 million within its borders have the disease, which affects the body's ability to process sugar, a figure more than double an earlier estimate. Today's report was published in six days before a UN meeting set to discuss diabetes and other diseases.

Earlier this summer The Economist charted increases in diabetes rates since 1980 for each country. While much the growth in the disease's prevalence is due to the world's aging population, "a good 30% of the increase was caused by higher prevalence of diabetes across age groups," according to the study cited by the magazine. It pegs the percentage of people with the disease even higher than the estimate above, at 9.8 percent for men and 9.2 percent for women--about a 20 percent increase for both groups since 1980. Predictably, a high degree of correlation was found between obesity and diabetes rates. According to The Economist, the changes in diabetes rates vary considerably country by country (it grew significantly in America), but four in five people with the disease today live in developing nations, today's report says.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.