The cost of treating adults with diabetes worldwide has risen beyond $1.3 trillion; equivalent to £1 trillion.
The latest figure comes from a team of researchers from the Department of Economics and Centre for Modern Indian Studies at the University of Goettinge, Germany and Harvard Medical School in Bosto, USA.
Diabetes is one of the most prevalent conditions in the world and can also be one of the most expensive if complications such as heart disease, kidney disease and blindness set in. Around one in 11 adults worldwide now have diabetes.
The researchers used data from 184 countries to provide the global estimate. The cost of diabetes included direct costs of the condition, such as the cost of treating, plus indirect costs, such as loss of working ability and mortality.
The researchers note that diabetes presents a serious issue across the world. In high-income countries, diabetes complications represent the largest cost. In low- and middle-income countries, early death is the biggest issue in economic terms.
North America is the largest affected region in terms of cost of diabetes as a percentage of gross domestic product (GDP). GDP provides a measure of a country’s wealth. North America also represents the greatest contributor to the costs of diabetes across the world.
The high cost of diabetes in North America is likely partly down to the high expense to individuals with the condition incurred by the US’s private healthcare system.
Whilst European countries, including the UK, have similar rates and demographics of diabetes, the costs relative to GDP are much lower.
The large rise in global costs of diabetes in recent decades comes largely from the rise in rates of type 2 diabetes. If there’s a silver lining, it is that we now know that type 2 diabetes is a condition that can be managed and worst-case outcomes such as complications and early death can be prevented.
More and more people are realising that they have the power to take control of type 2 diabetes and improve their health. To join those that are making the difference, join the Low Carb Program which gives guidance towards healthy eating in easy to follow steps.
The article is published online by The Lancet: Diabetes and Endocrinology journal.

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