The number of people with diabetes mellitus worldwide is estimated to be 221 million in 2010 compared to about 124 million in 1997. The dominant part of diabetic persons was in 1997 represented by Type 2 (97%). WHO expect the number of adults (20 years and older) with diabetes (i.e. a mix of Type 1 and 2) to rise to 300 millions in 2025 from 135 millions in year 1995. On average people with diabetes are three times more likely to be hospitalized than non-diabetic individuals. The risk for hospitalization is slightly diversified, venous complications being the least risky (1.7 times) and heart-related complications the most risky (3.1 times). The risk of premature death is higher for persons with diabetes compared to those without diabetes, and the life time expectancy is 10-15 times shorter. US data shows that diabetes is the leading cause of blindness and accounts for 40% of the new cases of end-stage renal disease. The risk for leg amputation is 15-40 times higher and the risk for heart disease and stroke is two to four times higher for people with diabetes compared with people without diabetes. Recent studies show that the health care expenditures are as much as five times higher for individuals with diabetes compared to individuals without diabetes. In Sweden in 1994, three times more resources were spent on treating complications compared to what was spent on control of the disease. Studies show that intensive treatments cost more than traditional treatment, but also cut costs substantially for the treatment of late complications. The main message was that early intervention and intensified treatment had a better effect on the late complications. The basic message is quite simple: diagnose more persons with diabetes earlier, introduce and improve treatment.
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