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Forword Dec 2017
Diabetes, a disease no longer associated with affluence,
is on the rise across the globe as reported in this 8th
edition of the IDF Diabetes Atlas 2017. 
The indicators are significant: millions of people are being destroyed
by the current diabetes pandemic which substantiates
IDF’s mission and rigorous efforts to provide solutions
to this worldwide health crisis. Already for some time,
diabetes and other noncommunicable diseases (NCDs)
that share similar risk factors have represented a
primary threat to health and human development.
Since the first IDF Diabetes Atlas was published in
2000, the fact that the incidence and prevalence of
diabetes continues to rise is self-evident. However, the
devastating short and long-term effects of the disease
on our world become more detailed with each new
edition of the Atlas.
At present, nearly half a billion people live with diabetes.
Low and middle income countries carry almost 80% of
the diabetes burden. Rapid urbanization, unhealthy diets
and increasingly sedentary lifestyles have resulted in
previously unheard higher rates of obesity and diabetes
and many countries do not have adequate resources to
provide preventive or medical care for their populations.
Up-to-date studies and analysis reveal clearly that we
need a robust and more dynamic response not only
from different governmental sectors, but also from civil
societies, patient organizations, food producers and
pharmaceutical manufacturers.
Diabetes is not only a health crisis; it is a global societal
catastrophe. Due to its chronic nature, diabetes causes
devastating personal suffering and drives families into
poverty. Governments worldwide are struggling to meet
the cost of diabetes care and the financial burden will
continue to expand due to the growing number of people
developing diabetes.
Despite the horrifying picture depicted by the new
IDF Diabetes Atlas  figures, we have both the knowledge
and the expertise to create a brighter future for
generations to come. We must raise awareness on
the importance of a healthy diet and physical activity,
especially among children and adolescents, and
incorporate healthy environments into urban planning.
Health professionals in primary healthcare should be
adequately and appropriately trained about diabetes
prevention and care, and provided with necessary
screening tools and diabetes medications.
As part of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable
Development, Member States of the United Nations set
an ambitious target to reduce premature mortality from
NCDs—including diabetes—by one-third; provide access
to affordable essential medicines; and achieve universal
health coverage, all by 2030. We have an enormous task
ahead of us, which is why we welcome the new edition
of IDF Diabetes Atlas.
Going forward, IDF is calling for all nations around
the globe affected by the diabetes pandemic to work
towards the full implementation of Sustainable
Development Goals and raise awareness about diabetes
since ignorance and misconception remain widespread.
This report reminds us that effectively addressing
diabetes does not just happen. It is the result of
a collective consensus, commitment and public
investment in interventions that are affordable,
cost-effective and based upon the best available
Please join me in ensuring that the findings
in this report are utilised and its recommendations
implemented and adhered to so that we may indeed halt
the rise in diabetes.
Dr. Shaukat Sadikot
President 2016-2017,
International Diabetes Federation
I am honoured to introduce the 8th edition of the
IFF Diabetes Atlas 2017,  a global reference report
setting the standard for estimates of diabetes
prevalence and its related burden. Building on the
substratum of the previous editions, the data affirm an
abrupt rise in diabetes and forecast for doubling the
current numbers in many regions by 2045.
There is an urgency for greater action to improve
diabetes outcomes and reduce the global burden of
diabetes now affecting more than 425 million people,
of which one-third are people older than 65 years.
The estimates of children and adolescents below age
19 with type 1 diabetes has risen to over a million. If
nothing is done, the number of people with diabetes
may rise to 693 million in 2045, although positively the
incidence has started to drop in some high income
countries. At the same time, a further 352 million
people with impaired glucose tolerance are at high risk
of developing diabetes.
By the end of this year, 4 million deaths will happen as a
result of diabetes and its complications. Alongside other
noncommunicable diseases, diabetes is increasing
most markedly in the cities of low and middle income
The IDF South-East Asia and Western Pacific
regions are at the epicentre of the diabetes crisis: China
alone has 121 million people with diabetes and India’s
diabetes population totals 74 million. African, Middle
Eastern and Northern African and South-East Asian
regions are expected to face the highest upsurge in
the next 28 years. People from these regions develop
disease earlier, get sicker and die sooner than their
counterparts in wealthier nations.
Notably, this year healthcare costs reached USD 727
billion of global healthcare expenditure dedicated to
diabetes treatment and related complications. This
represents an 8% growth since the previous statistics
published in 2015. Despite imposing a heavy economic
burden on public health as well as socio-economic
development, the prevention of diabetes remains
inexplicably underfunded.
Diabetes is a major contributor to cardiovascular
diseases and is the eleventh common cause of disability
worldwide. Undiagnosed or poorly managed diabetes
can lead to lower limb amputation, blindness and kidney
disease. Diabetes also exacerbates major infectious
diseases such as TB, HIV/AIDS and malaria. For the first
time, diabetes complications have a dedicated chapter
in this edition.
Diabetes can be successfully managed and
complications prevented, especially when detected
early. Even better, by making lifestyle changes, such
as improving diet and physical exercise, the risk of
developing type 2 diabetes can be diminished markedly.
Type 2 diabetes starts long before symptoms present.
However, diagnosing and treating the disease timely and
appropriately reduces serious and costly complications
and death.
Many countries still lack prevalence studies and many
populations are not systematically surveyed. Still,
more multi-dimensional and multi-sectoral research
is needed to strengthen the evidence base and to
gather greater knowledge as a basis for methods and
programmes to tackle the diabetes epidemic.
Professor Nam Han Cho
Chair, IDF Diabetes Atlas Committee, 8th Edition
President-elect, International Diabetes Federation
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