98 mn Indians will have diabetes by 2030: Lancet

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While Type-2 diabetes is expected to rise by more than a fifth, from 406 million in 2018 to 511 million in 2030 globally, India along with China and the USA will share over half of these high blood sugar cases, say researchers led by one of an Indian-origin, while asserting the need to improve access for the life saving insulin.

The study, which was led by Stanford University's Sanjay Basu, found that health care providers may see a 20-percent global increase in demand for insulin in order to effectively treat type 2 diabetics.

The rate at which people are developing diabetes has experts anxious that we will not be able to keep up with the demand for insulin. Over half of them will be living in just three countries - China, India and the USA.

It should be also noted that about 33 million people now do not have access to insulin.

The study shows that China (130 million) followed by India (98 million), and the United States (32 million) will constitute over half of type-2 diabetics by 2030. Insulin treatment is expensive and the market is now dominated by three manufacturers, according to the study. The study says that if access does not improve in the coming years, only 30 million will receive insulin to control their type 2 diabetes.

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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.

The limited production of insulin affects Africa and Asia, in spite of UN's high commitment to treat this non-communicable disease. At the same time, global insulin use is projected to rise from 526 million 1000-unit vials in 2018 to 634 million in 2030, and will be highest in Asia (322 million vials in 2030) and lowest in Oceania (4 million), they said.

Dr. Hertzel Gerstein of McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, wrote in an accompanying commentary that it was important to estimate and ensure insulin supplies, but added that the forecasts should be treated cautiously as they were based on mathematical models. Insulin reduces a patient's risk of having more serious complications due to high blood sugar.

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

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