Diabetes Facts From Around The World

Last updated: March 2022

People with diabetes are smart. Very smart. We have to be smart to manage this chronic disease. Almost every day, we learn something new about the disease, or about ourselves. We have to take what we learn and apply that new knowledge. Every day. Every meal. That is what makes it such a hard disease to live with.

There are times I prefer to focus on the bigger picture. I find it interesting to look beyond the things that we apply to ourselves and our lives. I took a bit of time and looked at this bigger diabetes picture. I also looked at the rest of the world. I learned some things I never knew.

So let’s look at some of the inside dope of diabetes.

Did you know …

  1. In many countries, people with diabetes are protected by human rights codes. Excellent!
  2. Although diabetes doesn’t prevent most people from doing what they love for a living, you cannot serve in the military in most countries if you have diabetes.
  3. Type 2 diabetes doesn’t always present with signs or symptoms.
  4. 1 in 4 people in the USA aren’t even aware they have it. This statistic is similar in many other countries.
  5. More than 40% of kidney failure cases are caused by diabetes.
  6. Approximately 5% of people with diabetes have type 1 which means 90-95% of the rest have type 2. Again, a similar picture around the world.
  7. In 1980, globally, 108 million people lived with diabetes. In 2014, globally, it is estimated that 422 million people live with it. Wowza!
  8. Worldwide, the majority of countries have national diabetes policies but the ability to actually apply those policies and pay for the programs needed is ‘uneven.’ Funding is often not available, especially in low income countries.
  9. Again worldwide, low income countries often don’t have access to insulin, metformin or other common lifesaving diabetes medications. I feel very fortunate for what I have but I also recognize that many people here in Canada, the USA and many other wealthier countries can’t afford the meds either.
  10. Diabetes can affect dental health. Many countries do not have dental programs or affordable plans.
  11. Cats can develop diabetes. It is similar to type 2 diabetes.
  12. Although not very common or straightforward, reptiles can develop diabetes too.
  13. There has been one elephant in captivity that developed diabetes but experts have not yet seen one in the wild.
  14. Polar bears do not get type 2 diabetes even though they are obese and insulin resistant.
  15. Polar bears may eventually help with developing more effective treatments for fat metabolism and type 2 diabetes. Who would have ever thought that polar bears might have the answer for us?

I have learned so much looking beyond myself. Not only does that look give a bigger picture of type 2 diabetes both at home and elsewhere in the world, I am now aware that it crosses species. I’m not sure that’s helpful to know, but it is interesting. I look forward to what else I will learn in the future.

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This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The Type2Diabetes.com team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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