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Number of people with type 1 diabetes expected to double by 2040
The number of people living with type 1 diabetes is expected to double by 2040 to between 13.5 and 17.5 million people, according to a new modelling study published in The Lancet Diabetes and Endocrinology.
The number of people living with type 1 diabetes is expected to double by 2040 to between 13.5 and 17.5 million people, according to a new modelling study.
Currently, it is estimated that around 8.4 million adults have type 1 diabetes, with around 60% of cases occurring in just 10 countries: USA, India, Brazil, China, Germany, UK, Russia, Canada, Saudi Arabia, and Spain.
The authors of the study, which is published in The Lancet Diabetes and Endocrinology, say that the overall footprint of type 1 diabetes is much later than previously thought, and warn that if the numbers increase as they are predicted to, there will be huge implications for societies and their healthcare systems.
Millions of lives lost due to suboptimal care of type 1 diabetes
Researchers modelled data on childhood, adolescent and adult type 1 diabetes prevalence in 97 countries, along with incidence over time data from 65 countries and mortality data from 37 countries to predict type 1 diabetes incidence, prevalence, and mortality in 2021 for 201 countries, with projections of future prevalence through 2040. The estimates were tested for accuracy against real world prevalence data from 15 countries.
Of the 8.4 million individuals living with type 1 diabetes in 2021, 18% were under 20 years old, 64% were between 20-59 years, and 19% were over 60 years.
Although historically type 1 diabetes has been a disease associated with onset in childhood, these results reveal that numerically more adults than children are diagnosed every year (316,000 vs 194,000 incident cases worldwide in 2021), with a mean diagnosis age of 32 years.
Model estimates place global deaths due to type 1 diabetes at 175,000 in 2021. Of these, 35,000 or 20% were attributed to non-diagnosis, of which 14,500 were in sub-Saharan Africa and 8,700 were in South Asia.
The researchers estimate that an extra 3.1 million people would have been alive in 2021 if they hadn’t died prematurely due to suboptimal care of type 1 diabetes , and a further 700,000 people would still be alive if they hadn’t died prematurely due to non-diagnosis.
Ensuring type 1 diabetes care is available and affordable to all
Prof. Dianna Magliano, one of the authors of the study, said the findings have important implications for diagnosis, models of care, and peer support programmes.
Our findings emphasise the urgent need for enhanced surveillance and data collection on T1D incidence, prevalence, and mortality in adult populations an area where data are especially scarce, she said.
The projected T1D prevalence in 2040 given by the model was is 13.5-17.5 million people, with largest relative increases predicted to occur in LICs and LMICs. Conservative estimates place the relative increase in the number of people living with T1D by 2040 compared to 2020 at 66%.
In light of this, Prof. Kim Donaghue, who co-authored the study, said there is an urgent need to increase awareness of the signs and symptoms of type 1 diabetes in low- and middle-income countries, where diagnosis rates are low and treatment is poor.
Another author of the study, Mr Tom Robinson, suggested that policy makers should address the substantial global burden of the disease and implement universal health coverage programmes, so that T1D care is available and affordable to all.