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Z Katedry Medycyny Społecznej i Zapobiegawczej, Zakładu Medycyny Społecznej Uniwersytetu Medycznego w Łodzi
Med Og. 2007;13(4):253–274
An increasing number of diabetes cases worldwide, and the associated increase in organ compli-cations over the last 20 years, has caused the WHO to recognize diabetes as a social diseasewhich has a substantial effect on the health of the general population. According to the data by the World Health Organization, a case of diabetes is diagnosed somewhere in the world every 4 seconds. 3.8 million people die of this disease annually (as compared to AIDS, which claims 3.1 million). In Poland, diabetes affects approximately 2 million individuals (approximately 5% of the population). The risk of developing this disease is increased by modern lifestyles - inadequate diet and lack of physical activity. According to estimates, the number of diabetics will rise systematically in Poland and worldwide - this disease will take on the scope of a true, 21st century pandemic. As such, diabetes has become one of the most serious social diseases. The highest rate of diabetes is currently found in Finland. At present, there are approximately 194 million diabetics worldwide. The fact that in 1995 there were approximately 125 million diabetics worldwide, and that the number could top 300 million by the year 2030, is testament to the alarming rate at which this social disease is growing. This is the price paid for an increase in the average life span, an improper diet, which has resulted in obesity among a sizeable portion of the population, a general lack of physical activity and a lifestyle not conducive to good health. In the United States, mortality due to diabetes has increased by 30% in the last 30 years. This is caused by an avalanche of new cases of diabetes. It is estimated that at the time of diagnosis (typically between the ages of 40 and 60) the expected life span is reduced by 5-10 years, compared to the average of the healthy population. In recent years, a dramatic increase has been observed in the number of diabetes cases in the developed countries. The number of cases of diabetes in India may triple in the second decade of the 21st century, and double in China. Particularly alarm-ing is the tendency of disease to cross age barriers. Statistics prove that between 1990 and 1998, the number of diabetes cases among those over 40 years of age increased by 40%, and by as much as 70% among those in their 30s.