Diabetes in Mexico is a public health problem with considerable medical, social, and economic consequences. Although detailed data on the prevalence of diabetes and its complications are not available, health services utilization data of the Social Security organization (Instituto Mexicano del Seguro Social) indicate increasing use of primary and tertiary care for diabetes over a recent 10-yr period. A health interview survey conducted in 1988 indicated that, in different areas, from 3.5 to 12.7% of people aged ≥ 65 yr are believed to have diabetes, and that rates are higher in many of the states bordering the United States. Diabetes ranks among the leading 10 causes of death throughout the country. Although the ranking varies from state to state and the diagnosis may not appear on the death certificate when death results from a complication of the disease, in 1983 diabetes was the leading cause of death in Mexico and the first or second leading cause in many of the states bordering the U.S. Gestational diabetes contributes to perinatal mortality, and in view of the high birth rates, represents an important facet of the disease in Mexico. The impact of specific complications of diabetes on morbidity and mortality in Mexico are not well delineated. The relative frequency and impact of insulin-dependent and non-insulin-dependent diabetes in Mexico are not known.

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