The International Diabetes Federation predicts that the number of people living with diabetes is expected to rise from 366 million in 2011 to 552 million by 2030, if no urgent action is taken. The figure includes both types of diabetes as well as cases that are undiagnosed.
That equates to one in 10 adults worldwide could have diabetes by 2030.
In some of the poorest regions in the world such as Africa, where infectious diseases have traditionally been the focus of health care systems, diabetes cases are expected to increase by 90 percent by 2030.
IDF also estimates that as many as 183 million people are unaware that they have diabetes.
Experts say the projected rise is due to aging rather than the obesity epidemic. Diabetes deaths are also expected to double in the next 20 years.
Other figures to be released also show:
- At least 78% of people in Africa are undiagnosed and do not know they are living with diabetes.
- 80% of people with diabetes live in low and middle income countries.
- 78,000 children develop type 1 diabetes every year.
- The greatest number of people with diabetes are between 40-59 years of age.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.