In Italy, according to Istat data, there are about 3.9 million people who have declared that they have the diabetes in 2022, or 6.6 percent of the population, with an increase of 400,000 cases after the two years of the Covid-19 pandemic. In fact, it is estimated that the prevalence of diabetes grew by 14 percent in the population between 2019 and 2022, an increase attributable to the continuous aging of the population only for 50 percent, while for the other half it is conceivable to be related by on the one hand to the worsening of some risk factors during the pandemic period, such as excess weight gain and reduction of physical activity, and on the other to the trend of earlier diabetes diagnoses.
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These are some of the data contained in the Italian Diabetes Barometer Report “The diabetes pandemic and its impact in Italy and in the regions: data of a constantly evolving pandemic”, presented today during the 16th Italian Barometer Diabetes Summit 2023.
The event is organized in collaboration with the Parliamentary Intergroup Obesity, Diabetes and Chronic Non-Communicable Diseases, Italian Barometer Diabetes Observatory Foundation (IBDO Foundation), Istat, Tor Vergata University of Rome – Department of Medicine of Systems, Coresearch, Crea Sanità, Bhave, and with the unconditional contribution of Novo Nordisk, within the Driving Change in Diabetes program, with the patronage of the Ministry of Health, Anci – National Association of Italian Municipalities, Higher Institute of Health and will see the participation of Institutions, scientific societies and experts who will discuss the economic, social, clinical and political scope of diabetes in Europe and in Italy and on the value of prevention, diagnosis and of early and innovative treatment.
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One and a half million undiagnosed cases
“Also this year, the data confirm a slight increase in the number of people with diabetes in Italy, over 6 percent of the population, to which it is estimated that around one and a half million undiagnosed cases should be added. Precisely because of its prevalence, for the tendency to progressive increase and for the close relationship with social inequalities – as emerges from the continuous monitoring carried out by STEPS surveillance system, active at the Istituto Superiore di Sanità – diabetes remains one of the most demanding challenges with which the National Health Service is called to measure itself. A challenge also to evaluate the ability to uniformly protect the right to health and to reduce the gap between Northern and Southern Italy”, he commented Horace SchillaciMinister of Health.
The gap between North and South
In line with past years, important differences emerged again in 2022 between the northern and southern regions in terms of the percentage of people with diabetes; in fact, it goes from 4.7 per cent in the north-east to 6.9 per cent in the south. “Southern Italy is the territory with the highest percentage of people with diabetes, where the sad record is held by Calabria with 8.5 percent of the population with the disease.
What happened after the pandemic
However, if we compare the data before and after the Covid-19 pandemic, at the same age, the greatest increase in people with diabetes was recorded for the North-West in Piedmont, which increased from 4.5 percent to 5. 7 percent of the population affected, while for the south in Campania that rose from 6.3 percent to 7.8 percent.
An important increase in recent years has also been recorded in the Public Administration of Trento, which in 2019 had 3.8 percent of the population with diabetes and 5.5 percent in 2022″, he underlines Roberta Crialesi, Director of the Integrated Health, Assistance, Welfare and Justice System Service, Istat. “During the pandemic years, diabetic pathology has led to complications for many people, with a significant increase in the fragility of individuals and an increased risk of death.
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Covid and diabetes, a deadly link
In the first year (2020) there were over 97,000 deaths in which diabetes was present as the initial cause or as a contributing cause, 13 percent of the total. The increase compared to 2010 was 33 percent and very significant (+25 percent) also compared to 2019. The latest data on mortality from causes, recently released, bear witness to the considerable evidence of the link between Covid-19 and diabetes , making it increasingly urgent to implement interventions to prevent and counter the spread of the disease”, he specified Francesco Maria ChelliActing President of ISTAT Vergata in the preface of the IBDO Report.