Many diabetics won't be able to get insulin by 2030, study claims

A new study says that by 2030 79 million adults with type 2 diabetes will need insulin but only half will be able to get an adequate supply

As the number of people living with diabetes continues to rise, the access to insulin needed to meet growing demand will fall short, a new study predicts.

The authors note several limitations, including that the projections of type 2 diabetes prevalence do not account for dietary and physical activity environments changing over time, which means that the disease could have a much larger or smaller impact in the future.

Insulin is essential for all people with type 1 diabetes and some people with type 2 diabetes to reduce the risk of complications such as blindness, amputation, kidney failure, and stroke [2].

The number of people with type 2 diabetes who receive insulin is expected to increase by more than 20% by 2030, a report suggests. According to a new study performed at Stanford University, 40 million people with type 2 diabetes won't have access to the life-saving hormone by 2030.

Type 2 diabetes comprises the majority of people with diabetes around the world, and is caused largely due to excess body weight and physical inactivity.

Sanjay Basu, assistant professor of medicine at Stanford University and who led the study, said: "Despite the UN's commitment to treat noncommunicable diseases and ensure universal access to drugs for diabetes, across much of the world insulin is scarce and unnecessarily hard for patients to access". Major insulin has been manufactured in pharmaceutical companies and the continual rise in price has raised human concerns.

The researchers conclude in the journal The Lancet that of all these diabetes patients, 79 million would actually be in need of insulin to manage their diabetes. The most prevalent type is type 2 diabetes, which usually affects adults but is more often seen now in younger individuals as well. 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.

They also estimated the potential number of insulin users, amount of insulin required, and the burden of diabetes complications in adults aged 18 or older.

The diagnosis of both types has become more common over the last 30 years, especially in low-income and middle-income countries.

"Unless governments begin initiatives to make insulin available and affordable, then its use is always going to be far from optimal", Basu said.

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