The Statistics and Diagnosis of Diabetes

Diabetes Mellitus is now an epidemic affecting more than 150 million people worldwide .

Diagnosis with diabetes can be frightening, however, if you control your diabetes well, you can succeed in living a normal.

Diabetes corresponds to an abnormal rise in the glucose level in your blood (glycaemia).

Hyperglycemia (increased glucose levels) can cause long term damage to various organs, such as your eyes, kidneys, nerves and blood vessels .

On average, it takes 7 years to develop symptoms from complications due to diabetes and the diagnosis is usually made at this time.

Diabetes statistics

  • 150 million people in the world are now diagnosed with diabetes, compared to 75 million in 1975.
  • According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), this figure could double by 2025 to reach 380 million people.
  • 40 to 60% of obese people are affected by Type II diabetes.
  • Young people and children are becoming increasingly affected.
  • In 2005, more than 1 million people died in the world due to diabetic complications, and this is likely to increase by more than 50% in the next ten years according to WHO reports.
  • 50% of the deaths caused by diabetes occur in those less than 70 years old.

Normal blood glucose figures

  • Before a meal (pre-prandial), a normal blood glucose level would be between 4 and 7 mmol/l..
  • 2 hours after eating (post-prandial), levels should be below 9 mmol/l.

Diagnosing Diabetes

  • If you have symptoms of diabetes, such as excess thirst or urination, then diagnosis is based on the following blood test values:
    • A random blood glucose level of 11.1 mmol/l or above
    • OR a fasting blood glucose level over 7.0 mmol/l
    • OR 2 hour blood glucose level of 11.1 mmol/l or above, 2 hours after glucose in an oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT)
  • If you have no symptoms, then you must have two bloods test values to confirm the diagnosis of diabetes.


  • HbA1C (glycated haemoglobin) is a blood test to measure your blood glucose control over the previous 3 to 4 months.
  • HbA1C is used by doctors to monitor your diabetic control and the effectiveness of treatments. You may be tested 1-2 times a year.
  • The normal level of HbA1C is between 4% and 6%, and for diabetics, the aim is to have an HbA1C lower than 6.5 - 7%.
  • The higher your HbA1C, the higher your risk of developing complications.

For further information :
Diabetes UK, also known as The British Diabetic Association can provide you with information and guidance.
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