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10th edition of IDF Diabetes Atlas: One in nine SA adults living with diabetes

The International Diabetes Federation (IDF) has released new figures showing that a staggering 537m adults are now living with diabetes worldwide — a rise of 16% (74m) since the previous IDF estimates in 2019. These findings from the 10th Edition of the IDF Diabetes Atlas, which will be published on 6 December, report that 4.2m adults in South Africa are living with diabetes: – one in nine adults.

The diabetes prevalence in South Africa has reached 11,3%, the highest in Africa. The country will also register an estimated 96,000 deaths due to diabetes in 2021, while the cost of diabetes-related health expenditure has risen to $1,700 per person, totalling an estimated $7.2bn.

Just under half (45,4%) of people living with diabetes in South Africa are undiagnosed. When diabetes is undetected or inadequately treated, people with diabetes are at risk of serious and life-threatening complications, such as heart attack, stroke, kidney failure, blindness and lower-limb amputation. These result in reduced quality of life and higher healthcare costs, and lead to a greater need for access to care.

One in three (13) adults in South Africa have impaired fasting glucose (IFG), which places them at high risk of developing type 2 diabetes. This is the highest IFG prevalence in the world.

“Diabetes is a serious threat to global health that respects neither socioeconomic status nor national boundaries. The increasing prevalence of diabetes in South Africa confirms diabetes is a significant challenge to the health and well-being of individuals and families in the country,” says Professor Ayesha Motala, department head of the Diabetes and Endocrinology School of Clinical Medicine, University of KwaZulu-Natal.

This year marks 100 years since the discovery of insulin. This milestone presents a unique opportunity to reflect on the numbers of people living with diabetes, as well as the urgent need to improve access to care for the millions affected.

“We must do more to provide affordable and uninterrupted access to diabetes care for all people who require it in South Africa, and around the world. Much can be done to reduce the impact of diabetes. We have evidence that type 2 diabetes can often be prevented, while early diagnosis and access to appropriate care for all types of diabetes can avoid or delay complications in people living with the condition Therefore we must do more to prevent type 2 diabetes, diagnose all forms of diabetes early and prevent complications. Importantly we must ensure that every person with diabetes has uninterrupted access to the quality care they need in their communities,” said Motala.

Globally, 90% of people with diabetes have type 2 diabetes. The rise in the number of people with type 2 diabetes is driven by a complex interplay of socio-economic, demographic, environmental and genetic factors. Key contributors include urbanisation, an ageing population, decreasing levels of physical activity and increasing levels of people being overweight and developing obesity.

Key global and regional findings from the IDF Diabetes Atlas 10th Edition include:
• One in ten (10,5%) adults around the world are currently living with diabetes. The total number is predicted to rise to 643m (11,3%) by 2030 and to 783m (12,2%) by 2045.
• 1 in 22 (24m) adults in Africa are living with diabetes.
• An estimated 240m people are living with undiagnosed diabetes worldwide – 13m in Africa.
• Diabetes was responsible for an estimated $966bn in global health expenditure in 2021. This represents a 316% increase over 15 years. Africa accounts for 1% (13bn) of the global expenditure.
• Excluding the mortality risks associated with the COVID-19 pandemic, approximately 6.7m adults are estimated to have died as a result of diabetes, or its complications, in 2021. That’s more than one in 10 (12,2%) of global deaths from all causes.
• The Africa region accounts for 6% (416,000) of total diabetes-related deaths: 541m adults, or 10.6% of adults worldwide, have impaired glucose tolerance (IGT), placing them at high risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Almost one in 10 (52m) people affected by IGT live in the Africa region.

The theme of World Diabetes Day this 14 November is Access to Diabetes Care. IDF is calling on national governments to provide the best possible care for people living with diabetes and develop policies to improve diabetes screening and type 2 diabetes prevention, especially among young people.

Issued by the International Diabetes Federation



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