Diabetes is a serious threat to global health that respects neither socioeconomic status nor national boundaries. The latest data published in the IDF Diabetes Atlas 9th edition shows that 463 million adults are currently living with diabetes. Without sufficient action to address the pandemic, 578 million people will have diabetes by 2030. That number will jump to a staggering 700 million by 2045.
People living with diabetes are at risk of developing a number of serious and life-threatening complications, leading to an increased need for medical care, a reduced quality of life, and undue stress on families. Diabetes and its complications, if not well managed, can lead to frequent hospital admissions and premature death.
Currently, massive health inequalities persist across the globe. With diabetes, these manifest in a lack of awareness among many populations about the risk factors and symptoms of diabetes, and in a need for both increased training of health care professionals and better access to diagnostics and medicines – particularly in low- and middle-income countries. Despite being available for almost 100 years, insulin remains unaffordable and unavailable to many people with diabetes for whom it is essential.
Despite the stark realities the new data represent, there is an enduring positive message: with prompt and accurate diagnosis and access to appropriate care, diabetes can be managed and its complications prevented. Furthermore, type 2 diabetes can often be prevented and there is compelling evidence to suggest it can, in some circumstances, be reversed.
Effective national advocacy is required to convince those who establish health priorities and allocate budgets that tackling diabetes is a critical and achievable goal. The best available evidence must be used to raise awareness of diabetes, to engage stakeholders in type 2 prevention and to create national diabetes plans that are appropriate to unique local contexts. All people living with diabetes should benefit from the early detection and appropriate treatment of complications. Achieving universal health coverage (UHC) will require governments to make sure people with diabetes have uninterrupted access to essential diabetes services, medicines and devices, and that these are affordable at the point of delivery.
The IDF Diabetes Atlas is published as a resource for those who have to make decisions about diabetes care and prevention and for those who seek to influence such decisions. This site is intended as a practical tool for all diabetes stakeholders. The information contained will help you to navigate the new edition of the IDF Diabetes Atlas, and to make convincing arguments for improving prevention and care for people at risk of, or already living with, diabetes.
Ultimately, this site aims to stimulate governments and the private sector to take action to identify undiagnosed diabetes, take further steps to prevent type 2 diabetes in those at risk, and improve care for all people living with diabetes.