Poverty and diabetes – is there a link?

Poverty and diabetes

It is a sad reality but there is a stunning link between people living in poverty and diabetes. In fact living in poverty can double or even triple the likelihood of developing the disease. Even in the developed world the percentage of people on low income and diabetes is significantly higher than those with higher incomes.

There are 400 million people across the globe with diabetes. It is estimated that 80% of diabetics across the globe have to cope with both poverty and diabetes.

Poverty and diabetes are linked

An even scarier fact about poverty and diabetes

An even scarier link between poverty and diabetes is that not only are people in poverty more likely to get the disease, but they are also the ones to develop complications. Complications from diabetes can be truly awful such as amputations, blindness, or cardiovascular disease.

The reasons for low income people to develop complications are mainly to do with the high cost of medical treatment, equipment and advice. If patients do not have health insurance many of these costs come out of their own pocket. Living in poverty or on a low income also makes getting access to fresh food much harder.Poverty and diabetes

Western world low income and diabetes

Although research proves a link between low income and diabetes the reason for this link is unclear. Type 2 diabetes is brought about via genetics but also lifestyle factors play a big role. Factors such as being overweight, being physically inactive and poor diet contribute to developing diabetes. Ironically being overweight is associated with people in higher income brackets and is a factor in them getting the disease.

Diabetes is an inflammation-based disease. Lifestyle factors such as obesity, lack of exercise, smoking and poor diet contribute to chronic inflammation. People who had more disadvantaged lives overall had chronically higher levels of inflammatory proteins in their blood.

Research conducted in London

A clinical and social experiment was trialed in London between 1991 and 2009. 10,000 people took part in this experiment. Every 6 years participants had a blood sugar test and had blood samples taken to measure inflammation proteins in the blood. The participants were asked to leave information about their job, education and their families occupation.

Not surprisingly the low income earners were twice as likely to develop type 2 diabetes over the course of the experiment. The reasons were that lower income earners were more likely to be overweight, inactive and had poorer diets. Inflammation proteins in the lower income earners blood were also considerably higher and was a significant factor in developing type 2 diabetes.




Poverty and diabetes in inextricably linked. Even those on lower incomes in western countries are more likely to develop the disease at some stage in their life. However diabetes does not discriminate. I am certainly not a low income earner yet I developed type 1 diabetes many years ago. It is worth while taking note of all the risks for developing diabetes however. Please read my article on high blood sugar symptoms for further information, including the warnings signs for developing diabetes.

Please also read my review on the best blood glucose monitoring system in the world.

Please leave me a comment below to let me know what you think.

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