Spain is the second country in Europe with the highest prevalence of diabetes, with 14.8 percent of the population between the ages of 20 and 79according to data from the IDF Diabetes Atlas 2021, which will be updated soon.
Also, it exceeds the average of the entire continent, which is 9.2 percentas well as in other territories such as South America, with a prevalence of 9.52 percent, or the Western Pacific and Southeast Asia, with a prevalence of 11.9 percent and 8.7 percent, respectively.
The only country in Europe with worse data than Spain in terms of prevalence is Turkey, which is a high 15.9 percent and about 9 million affected. According to the same statistics, there are just over 5 million people with diabetes. In addition, based on the figures available from the Spanish Diabetes Federation (FEDE), 1.5 million of them do not know that they have this pathology.
Spain is surpassed only by Turkey in these data. The only country that is very similar to Spain is Portugal, which, with a prevalence of 13 percent and less than a million patients, also exceeds the European average.
Italy, Greece (9.6 percent) and France, geographically close, they are below 10 percent in all three cases. France even drops to 8.6 percent in prevalence among people aged 20 to 79.
They also compare these data with those collected in northern European countries, especially among the Nordic countries. Norway is 4.8 percent, Sweden 6.8 percent, Denmark 7.3 percent, and only Finland 9.7 percent is similar to the results for southern and western Europe.
The data in the world are worrying, especially in those areas where the level of prevalence has increased. They are there forecasts that there will be by 2040According to a study published in the scientific journal ‘The Lancet’, more than twice as many people with type 1 diabetes than in 2021which was close to 8 million.
Africa is the analyzed area with the lowest prevalence rate, which is 4.5 percent. Europe is close behind with a prevalence of 9.2 percent, while South and Central America rises to 9.5 percent and North America and the Caribbean to 14 percent.
“It’s because very different lifestyles. The more developed the country, the greater the availability of processed food, better means of transportation, sedentary entertainment, etc., the higher the incidence of diabetes. For this reason, in a continent like Africa, with less industrial and technological development, there is a lower incidence,” said Mariana González, diabetologist at the health company Health Training Lab in Navarre.
The Middle East and North Africa account for 16.2 percent, but Southeast Asian countries still have 8.7 percent prevalence, lower than Spain (14.8 percent) or the United States (13.6 percent) among others. The Western Pacific (11.9 percent) is also in similar conditions with China (13 percent) and Australia (8.2 percent) or Japan (11.8 percent).
Spain has more than 5 million people with diabetes. Of that total number, about 1.5 million are unaware that they have the pathology. Andalusia is the autonomous community with the most cases, more than 800,000. Catalonia has more than 700,000, Madrid has more than 600,000 and the Community of Valencia is the fourth most affected region, exceeding half a million. On the contrary, according to FEDE data, La Rioja is the autonomous community with the fewest cases, not even reaching 11,000.
Experts agree that and sedentary lifestyle and diet and habits influence the growth of these data. “Blood glucose control, maintaining a healthy body weight with good nutritional status, and physical training through guided physical activity are the main goals for anyone with diabetes who wants to prevent complications,” explained González.
“There is more information and technology, but there is a lack of diabetes education”pointed out the director of the company that develops the application Sendo Diabetes, Jorge García, which uses artificial intelligence (AI) to create specific physical activity and nutrition plans for each person with diabetes.