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Keywords:

  • aging;
  • disease status;
  • lifestyle changes;
  • urbanization

Abstract

The incidence of type 1 diabetes in Latin America ranges from 0.4 to 8.3 cases per 100 000 children under 15 years of age, and the prevalence of type 2 diabetes ranges from 1.2% to 8%, with higher prevalence rates in urban areas. The frequency of diabetes in Latin America is expected to increase by 38% over the next 10 years, compared with an estimated 14% increase in the total population. The total number of cases of diabetes is expected to more than double and to exceed the number of cases in the US, Canada, and Europe by 2025. Factors underlying this increase include aging and increased life expectancy of the population, increased urbanization, and lifestyle changes among Native American populations. In many places, only a minority of individuals currently receives treatment for diabetes. Furthermore, the diagnosis of type 2 diabetes often occurs late in the course of the disease, with the result that 10–40% of patients have chronic complications at the time of diagnosis. Hospital costs account for most direct expenditures associated with treatment, and mortality associated with diabetes has increased markedly in some areas over the past 2 decades. Copyright © 2002 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.