Diabetes epidemic: 98 million people in India may have type 2 diabetes by 2030

Diabetes epidemic: 98 million people in India may have type 2 diabetes by 2030

Nearly 98 million people in India may have type 2 diabetes by 2030, according to a study published on Wednesday.

The study, published in the ‘Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology’ journal, found that the amount of insulin needed to effectively treat type 2 diabetes will rise by more than 20 per cent worldwide over the next 12 years.

Without major improvements in access, insulin will be beyond the reach of around half of the 79 million adults with type 2 diabetes who will need it in 2030, said researchers from Stanford University in the US.

The findings are of particular concern for the African, Asian, and Oceania regions which the study predicts will have the largest unmet insulin need in 2030 if access remains at current levels.

How did the researchers reach this conclusion?

  • Using data from the International Diabetes Federation and 14 cohort studies (representing more than 60 per cent of the world population with type 2 diabetes), researchers estimated the burden of type 2 diabetes in 221 countries and territories between 2018 and 2030
  • They estimated the potential number of insulin users, amount of insulin required, and the burden of diabetes complications under varying levels of insulin access and treatment targets (from 6.5 per cent to 8 per cent HbA1c, a measure of blood glucose), in adults aged 18 or older
  • The researchers calculated that compared to current levels of insulin access if universal global access was achieved, the number of people with type 2 diabetes worldwide using insulin in 2030 would double (from around 38 million to 79 million)

Findings of the study

1. Results showed that worldwide, the number of adults with type 2 diabetes is expected to rise by more than a fifth from 406 million in 2018 to 511 million in 2030.

2. Over half of them will be living in just three countries — China (130 million), India (98 million), and the US (32 million), researchers said.

3. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), India had 69.2 million people living with diabetes in 2015.

4. 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).

“The number of adults with type 2 diabetes is expected to rise over the next 12 years due to aging, urbanisation, and associated changes in diet and physical activity,” said Sanjay Basu from Stanford University, who led the research.

The researchers warn that strategies to make insulin more widely available and affordable will be critical to ensure that demand is met.

“These estimates suggest that current levels of insulin access are highly inadequate compared to the projected need, particularly in Africa and Asia, and more efforts should be devoted to overcoming this looming health challenge,” Basu added.

Despite 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 difficult for patients to access.

Type 2 diabetes can be prevented

Type 2 diabetes was called adult-onset diabetes since it was almost unheard of in children. But with the rising rates of childhood obesity, it has become more common in youth, especially among certain ethnic groups.

Although the genes you inherit may influence the development of type 2 diabetes, they take a back seat to behavioral and lifestyle factors.

1. Control your weight

Being overweight increases the chances of developing type 2 diabetes sevenfold. Losing weight can help if it is above the healthy-weight range.

Losing seven to 10 per cent of your current weight can cut your chances of developing type 2 diabetes in half.

2. Get moving and turn off the television

Inactivity promotes type 2 diabetes. Working your muscles more often and making them work harder improves their ability to use insulin and absorb glucose.

This puts less stress on your insulin-making cells. Walking briskly for a half hour every day reduces the risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 30 per cent, according to a study.

3. Tune up your diet

Choose whole grains and whole grain products over highly processed carbohydrates.

Skip the sugary drinks, and choose water, coffee, or tea instead.

Limit red meat and avoid processed meat; choose nuts, whole grains, poultry, or fish instead.

4. If you smoke, try to quit

Smokers are roughly 50 percent more likely to develop diabetes than nonsmokers, and heavy smokers have an even higher risk.

Also read | Are obese people more depressed? This study seems to have the answer

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