Prevalence of microvascular and macrovascular complications of diabetes in newly diagnosed type 2 diabetes in low-and-middle-income countries: A systematic review and meta-analysis

PLOS Glob Public Health. 2022 Jun 15;2(6):e0000599. doi: 10.1371/journal.pgph.0000599. eCollection 2022.


There is an excessive burden of diabetes complications in low-resource settings. We conducted a systematic review to determine the nature and frequency of diabetes complications in newly diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. A systematic search was performed using Medline, CINAHL and Global Health online databases from inception to July 2020. Articles reporting prevalence of microvascular or macrovascular complications within six months of type 2 diabetes diagnosis and published in English or French from low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) were eligible for analysis. Data were extracted using a standardized data extraction tool. Descriptive statistics were used to describe the prevalence of micro and macrovascular complications in newly diagnosed type 2 diabetes. Assessment of heterogeneity was conducted using the inconsistency index (I2) and Cochran-Q chi2 statistical tests. Publication bias was assessed by the Funnel plot and Egger test. A total of 3 292 records underwent title or abstract screening and 95 articles underwent full text review. Thirty-three studies describing 13 283 participants (aged 20 years and older) met the inclusion criteria. The eligible studies were from Asia (n = 24), Africa (n = 4), Oceania (n = 2), South America (n = 2) and the Caribbean (n = 1). For microvascular complications, the median prevalence (interquartile range) of retinopathy, nephropathy and neuropathy were 12% (6%-15%), 15% (7%-35%) and 16% (10%25%) respectively. For macrovascular complications, the median prevalence (interquartile range) was 10% (7%-17%) for ischaemic heart disease, 6% (1%-20%) for peripheral arterial disease and 2% (1%-4%) for stroke. There was evidence of substantial heterogeneity between studies for all outcomes (I2 > 90%. We found a high prevalence of complications in newly diagnosed type 2 diabetes in LMICs. Findings suggest that many people live with diabetes and are only diagnosed when they present with complications in LMICs. Research is needed to guide timely and effective identification of people living with diabetes in these settings.

Grant support

This research was funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR), project reference 16/137/87 (SJ), using UK aid from the UK Government to support global health research. The views expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of the NIHR or the UK Department of Health and Social Care. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.