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Diabetes epidemic drives surge in insulin demand

23 November 2018
Diabetes epidemic drives surge in insulin demand

Almost 98 million people in India may have type 2 diabetes by 2030, according to a study, which found that the number of adults with the disease worldwide is expected rise by over a fifth.

The study aimed at comparing alternative projections for and consequences of insulin use worldwide under varying treatment algorithms and degrees of insulin access revealed that access to insulin in many areas is low.

However, while this report indicates an expected increase in worldwide insulin use, various research is showing how people with type 2 diabetes can come off insulin by eating a healthy, real-food diet. Today, that figure nearly doubled at roughly 9% - and global population has also swollen by another three billion individuals. The researchers developed a microsimulation of the global burden of type 2 diabetes from 2018 to 2013, estimating that around 40 million patients will be left without insulin unless improvements to cost and access are made.

Making insulin widely accessible would have the greatest impact in the African region, where insulin use would increase from around 700 000 people to over 5 million.

A study published in the journal Lancet Diabetes and Endocrinology, says access to insulin will fall well short of demand.

The Guardian quoted Dr. Sanjay Basu from Stanford University in the U.S., who led the research, as saying the current levels of insulin access are inadequate especially in Africa and Asia, requiring more efforts to overcome this shortage. Symptoms of type 2 diabetes include increased thirst and urination, increased hunger, fatigue, blurred vision, sores that take time to heal, numbness and tingling, and unexplained weight loss. The study found that the rise in the number of people affected by the disease is likely to rise by around 20 per cent over the people affected now.

Dr Sanjay Basu from Stanford University, USDespite the UN's commitment to treat non-communicable diseases and ensure universal access to drugs for diabetes, across much of the world insulin is scarce and unnecessarily hard for patients to access. Of that global total of 511 million, 79 million were predicted to be in need of insulin to manage their diabetes - a 20% rise in the demand for insulin - and only 38 million are likely to have access to it based on current resources. Insulin reduces a patient's risk of having more serious complications due to high blood sugar.

Sanjay Basu also added that governments should begin effective initiatives to make insulin affordable for patients all across the world.