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Increased Death in People with Diabetes

Key facts

  • The number of people with diabetes has risen from 108 million in 1980 to 422 million in 2014.
  • The global prevalence of diabetes* among adults over 18 years of age has risen from 4.7% in 1980 to 8.5% in 2014 (1).
  • Diabetes prevalence has been rising more rapidly in middle- and low-income countries.
  • Diabetes is a major cause of blindness, kidney failure, heart attacks, stroke and lower limb amputation.
  • In 2016, an estimated 1.6 million deaths were directly caused by diabetes. Another 2.2 million deaths were attributable to high blood glucose in 2012**.
  • Almost half of all deaths attributable to high blood glucose occur before the age of 70 years. WHO estimates that diabetes was the seventh leading cause of death in 2016.
  • Healthy diet, regular physical activity, maintaining a normal body weight and avoiding tobacco use are ways to prevent or delay the onset of type 2 diabetes.
  • Diabetes can be treated and its consequences avoided or delayed with diet, physical activity, medication and regular screening and treatment for complications.