Danish drugmaker Novo Nordisk (NYSE:NVO) is an exciting drugmaker to follow because it is the worldwide leader in treating diabetes. Last week, the company released its third-quarter financial results.

Sales rose 9% year over year for Novo, but the falling dollar and other currencies like the Chinese yuan masked Novo's true sales growth, which was 14% at constant currencies.  

Without the truck-sized dent that negative currency movements put in its top line, operating income was up more than 20% over last year. Earnings came in at $4.58 per share for the quarter, using an exchange rate of $0.194 per Danish kroner.

Novo has insulin compounds on the market for nearly every stage of type 1 and 2 diabetes and compounds that are used in short and long-acting doses. Since 2005, there have been many new competing diabetes treatments -- for instance, Amylin Pharmaceuticals' (NASDAQ:AMLN), Byetta GLP-1 injection, and Nektar Therapeutics' (NASDAQ:NKTR) inhalable insulin Exubera.

Novo has responded to competition by developing its own GLP-1 analog and inhalable insulin compounds, both of which are now in phase 3 studies. Novo also has oral anti-diabetes compounds for earlier stage type 2 diabetes in phase 3 studies as well.

Investors looking for a macro trend to buy into don't have to buy natural resource stocks or short the U.S. based homebuilders. Sales of insulin treatments have grown 19% annually for drugmakers worldwide since 2002. By 2025 the number of people with diabetes is expected to increase more than 50% to more than 380 million people worldwide, according to the International Diabetes Federation.

This spread of diabetes and the need for drugs to treat it seems to signal the state of people's poor health around the world. Perhaps sadly, even with increasing competition, Novo Nordisk will have plenty of growth opportunities in the long run for its diabetes franchise.

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Fool contributor Brian Lawler does not own shares of any company mentioned in this article. The Fool has a disclosure policy.