A recent report suggests that the current figure for the number of people with diabetes worldwide is significantly underestimated. Professor Paul Zimmet of Monash Unversity, publishing in Nature Reviews, believes that the correct figure is 520 million, considerably more than the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) figure of 415 million.
Professor Zimmet states that the current global diabetes data is sub-par and that there remains an inconsistency in how this data is gathered. He reports that since “fasting blood sugar has been used as the diagnostic test for…the Australian 2012-2013 National Health Survey, it is almost certain [that] the true burden of disease has been underestimated.” Why does using fasting blood sugar as a test lead to an underestimate? Although the paper suggests that a lack of data on diabetes in many countries contributes to this underestimate, it also highlights the need for a new blood glucose test for both fasting and non-fasting time points. We need a better alternative to self-monitoring blood glucose testing in order to improve patient wellbeing and research.