Factsheet: Diabetes in older people

Factsheet: Diabetes in older people

There are two main types of diabetes. Type 2 accounts for over 90 per cent of diabetes worldwide. It results from the body’s ineffective use of insulin, leading to raised glucose levels in the blood. One of the four leading global NCDs2, diabetes is a major cause of chronic illness and morbidity:

  • 9 per cent of adults in the world have diabetes
  • diabetes-related deaths are predicted to rise by over 50 per cent in the next 10 years
  • more than 80 per cent of diabetes-related deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries.5 Levels of diagnosed and undiagnosed type 2 diabetes increase with age, leading to a significantly higher prevalence in older people

Key messages fromthis factsheet:

  • the prevalence of diabetes in older age groups is high and growing rapidly
  • without treatment, older people with diabetes are at higher risk of developing complications and other non-communicable diseases (NCDs) than younger people
  • Type 2 diabetes can be managed inexpensively with early diagnosis and treatment


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