An international study has found that rates of diabetes have surged in the last 30 years, with 350 million people across the globe estimated to have the disease.
The figures are worse than predicted, with the number of adults with diabetes more than doubling from 153 million in 1980 to 347 million in 2008.
According to the data, which was based on the blood sugar of 2.5 million people aged 25 and over, in almost every part of the world diabetes prevalence has increased or remained the same.
In a comparison of the sexes, women fared worse over the last three decades.
The research show the proportion of women with diabetes rose 23% - from 7.5% to 9.2% - while males saw the proportion increase 18%, from 8.3% to 9.8%.
Experts say the main factors affecting the rate of diabetes are increasing life span and body weight, while ethnic genetic factors, nutrition in the womb and at birth, poor diet and lack of exercise are also believed to play a part.
The condition, caused by poor blood sugar control, can lead to heart disease and stroke and can damage the kidneys, nerves and eyes.
- Danaei G, et al. National, regional, and global trends in fasting plasma glucose and diabetes prevalence since 1980: systematic analysis of health examination surveys and epidemiological studies with 370 country-years and 2·7 million participants. The Lancet 2011; Advance online publication