Diabetes is a major cause of death in developed countries, and the problem is getting worse.

A global problem

Diabetes arises when the body cannot produce enough insulin (type 1 diabetes) or when the body produces insulin but cannot use it properly (type 2 diabetes). Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas that helps the body to process the sugars in food. When the body cannot use or produce insulin, the blood sugars build up to levels, which can arouse serious health issues.[1] Diabetes is now a leading cause of death in developed countries.[2] In 2015, there were an estimated 415 million adults aged 20-79 with diabetes.[1] By 2040, that number is expected to rise to 642 million [1] – over 10% of the world’s adult population.[1]

Type 2 diabetes is the more common form.[1] It mainly affects people in developed countries. While its causes are partly genetic, lifestyle factors – such as smoking, obesity, poor nutrition and lack of exercise – also play a major role.[1]

Type 2 diabetes can produce a range of complications including cardiovascular diseases, eye damage and kidney failure. Most worryingly, only 1 in 2 sufferers has been diagnosed.[1]


[1]    IDF (2015). IDF Atlas. 7th edition

[2]    WHO. The top 10 causes of death. Available from: http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs310/en/. Last access May 2017.    

Healthcare disclaimer

This section of our website includes information about certain topics related to the global healthcare business of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany.  For more specific information about the company’s healthcare business in the United States and Canada, please visit our EMD Serono website.

Check out more information

Take me back


You have accessed https://www.emdgroup.com, but for users from your part of the world, we originally designed the following web presence https://www.merckgroup.com.

Let's go

Share Disclaimer

By sharing this content, you are consenting to share your data to this social media provider. More information are available in our Privacy Statement