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2019.02.27

【Aging, safety net and fiscal crisis in Japan】No.164: The number of people suspected to have diabetes is more than 10 million

In this column series, Yukihiro Matsuyama, Research Director at CIGS introduces the latest information about aging, safety net and fiscal crisis in Japan with data of international comparison.

According to an estimate by the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare, more than 10 million people are suspected to have diabetes. The ministry describes these patients as "People with a hemoglobin A1c reading of 6.5% or more or those receiving treatment for diabetes." Hemoglobin A1c is a type of protein in erythrocytes which plays a part in sending oxygen to cells in the entire body.


Figure 1 shows the percentage of adults suspected to have diabetes. The percentage for males has increased from 15.3% in 2007 to 18.1% in 2017. The percentage for females has increased from 7.3% in 2007 to 10.5% in 2017. Figure 2 shows that the prevalence of diabetes increases sharply with age. In the decade from 2007 to 2017, the percentage of people aged 65 years or older increased from 21.5% to 27.7%. Figure 3 shows the data when the influence of age is removed from the data shown in Figure 1.


The medical expenses of diabetes was JPY 1,213 billion in 2016 (Table 1). The percentage of diabetes medical expenses in relation to the overall national medical expenses have decreased from 3.7% in 2000 to 2.9% in 2016. This is because of the increase in medical expenses relating to diseases other than diabetes, such as malignant tumors.


Figure 1: Percentage of adults suspected to have diabetes before adjusting the influence of age
164-fig1.png

Source: Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare


Figure 2: Percentage of adults suspected to have diabetes according to age group
164-fig2.png

Source: Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare


Figure 3: Percentage of adults suspected to have diabetes after adjusting the influence of age
164-fig3.png

Source: Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare


Table 1: Medical expense for diabetes
164-table1.png

Source: Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare



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