According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), there are now over 40 million adults and children worldwide living with type 2 diabetes, up from around 18 million a few years ago.
This is an increase of more than 15 million people per year, with the biggest increase in Africa, where the total number of people with type 1 diabetes is almost 2.4 billion people.
There are also increasing numbers of people in sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East and North Africa who are diagnosed with type 3 diabetes.
However, there are also rising numbers of children, who now account for over half of the estimated 40 million children living with the disease.
In South Africa alone, there have been 1,937 cases of type 3, compared to 539 cases a decade ago, and an additional 2,531 cases of non-insulin dependent diabetes in 2017, up by more than 70% over the past decade.
A total of 726 children in South Africa are diagnosed as having type 3.
South Africa has also seen an increase in cases of both type 1 and type 2, with more than 500 children diagnosed with both conditions.
The number of cases of diabetes worldwide has also risen over the last decade, but is still well below the average of more like 2.5 million cases per year in the US and about one million cases in Europe.
The WHO says that the world’s population has doubled over the same period.
It says that by 2030, about 40 million new cases of the disease will be diagnosed globally, which is an 80% increase on the previous decade.
The new global figures come as the WHO says there is now evidence that certain genes can be inherited, which could lead to increased risk for type 2.
The research was carried out by researchers from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and Harvard Medical School, and the US National Institutes of Health (NIH).
The findings were published in the Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology journal.
“As we see more and more cases of this disease, we are seeing that there is increased gene expression and the ability of this gene to become active in a variety of tissues and organs, including blood vessels and insulin-producing cells in the pancreas,” said Dr Richard Tice, the lead author on the study.
“We’re now looking at the role of this particular gene in regulating this gene expression.”
The findings suggest that the gene could be one factor in causing the increased incidence of type 2 in this population, with a further increase in this gene in the future likely.
But, the authors note that this is an emerging area of research, and that future research will be needed to better understand this particular form of diabetes.
“These findings suggest the role that the insulin-like growth factor-1 gene plays in the development of type 1.
This could also lead to new approaches for the management of type-2 diabetes,” Dr Tice added.
“Although type 1 is a complex disease, it is currently characterized by multiple genes and different signaling pathways that are important for disease progression.”
Dr Ticha Pankratz from the National Institutes for Health, who co-authored the study, said that this type of study could provide insight into the possible mechanisms that could be contributing to the rise in cases.
“The role of insulin in diabetes has long been known, and there is increasing evidence to suggest that it is involved in some ways in diabetes development, but this study provides the first step in understanding the impact of insulin on type 2,” she said.
“If we can find a gene or pathways that could lead us to this type 2 mutation, this could help to address the major challenges associated with the pathogenesis of diabetes.”
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