Blog Post

The Diabetes Pandemic


According to Worldometer, the COVID-19 virus has claimed 1,050,702 lives in the United States since the pathogen found its way to this country in early 2020. That’s out of a total of nearly 92 million reported cases. The disease has, quite appropriately, received a great deal of media attention.

But consider this: According to the World Economic Forum, diabetes was already responsible for 4.2 million deaths worldwide every year, almost three times as many as COVID-19. Furthermore, “... an estimated 463 million people already live with diabetes and that number is set to rise to over 700 million by 2045, according to the latest data from the International Diabetes Federation.”

In the United States alone, more than 100,000 people died from diabetes in 2021, according to a story published by Reuters. It was the second year in a row in which U.S. diabetes deaths topped 100,000.

More than 37 million Americans have diabetes, and the numbers are rapidly growing, even among young children. The World Health Organization says the number of cases has nearly quadrupled since 1980, the year they first started tracking diabetes.

Maybe it’s time to recognize diabetes as the pandemic it is.

Diabetes is a chronic condition that occurs when the pancreas can no longer make sufficient insulin (Type 1) or when the body cannot make effective use of it (Type 2). Type 2 causes blood glucose levels to build up, which over time will cause damage to the body and the failure of organs and tissues. It is by far the most common form, making up 90%–95% of all cases.

Diabetes is the leading cause of CKD. One in three adults with diabetes has CKD, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Excessive blood glucose causes damage to the small blood vessels in the kidneys, which makes the kidneys become less efficient or fail altogether.

Globally, diabetes, hypertension, or a combination of both cause 80% of ESRD. Diabetes is also strongly associated with cardiovascular disease, another leading comorbidity with CKD.

Sounds pretty grim, but there is good news. Maintaining blood glucose levels, blood pressure, and cholesterol at or close to normal can help delay or prevent diabetes complications.

According to the International Diabetes Federation, “It is important to control blood glucose and blood pressure to reduce the risk of CKD. Screening for abnormal quantities of albumin in the urine (albuminuria) and starting treatment with drugs that reduce the activity of the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system when albuminuria is persistently found, even in the absence of hypertension, is very effective to prevent the development and progression of CKD in people with diabetes.

At Healthmap, we are experts in the early identification, tracking and interventions required to treat and monitor patients at risk for diabetes, and by extension, CKD.
To learn how our Kidney Population Health Management program can support your organization and members, contact us today at (813) 280-4846.