Monday, June 27, 2011
Diabetes : The progress of a disease over thirty years
THE number of adults with diabetes more than doubled between 1980 and 2008, according to a new study led by Professor Majid Ezzati of Imperial College London and Goodarz Danaei at Harvard University and published in the Lancet. This jump is not quite as horrific as the numbers might initially suggest, because ageing helped push up rates. But a good 30% of the increase was caused by higher prevalence of diabetes across age groups. Obesity seems to be a main culprit; the authors found a high correlation between rising rates of diabetes and a rise in body mass index. The global leap masks considerable variation between the sexes and among regions. Across the world the rate of diabetes rose by 18% for men and by 23% for women, to 9.8% and 9.2% respectively. In some countries the gap between the sexes was more dramatic. In Pakistan, for example, rates jumped by 46% for men and by 102% for women. The highest incidence of all is found in the Marshall Islands, where more than a quarter of all adults had diabetes in 2008. America has lived up to its hefty reputation. Women’s rate of diabetes jumped 79%, something that has contributed to a decline in life expectancy among some groups. And once again, French women are the envy of the world. Rates there fell by 11.2%.