Monday December 17, 2018

By 2030, Over 98 mn Indians Will Have Diabetes, Lancet Study Revealed

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

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98 mn Indians will have diabetes by 2030: Lancet. Pixabay
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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 US 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, published in The Lancet Diabetes and Endocrinology journal, showed that China (130 million) followed by India (98 million), and the US (32 million) will constitute over half of Type-2 diabetics by 2030.

As a result, 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.

Compared to current levels of insulin access, if universal global access was achieved (with a treatment target of HbA1c — measure of blood glucose) seven per cent or lower, the number of people with Type-2 diabetes worldwide using insulin in 2030 would double from around 38 million (7.4 per cent of all people with Type-2 diabetes) to 79 million (15.5 per cent), the researchers said.

“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,” said lead author Sanjay Basu from Stanford University, US.

Diabetes
Representational image. Pixabay

“The number of adults with Type-2 diabetes is expected to rise over the next 12 years due to ageing, urbanisation, and associated changes in diet and physical activity.

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

For the study, the team used data from the International Diabetes Federation and 14 cohort studies and estimated the burden of Type-2 diabetes in 221 countries and territories between 2018 and 2030.

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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.

As global rates of Type-2 diabetes soar and people live longer (which will increase insulin requirements), a comprehensive picture of global insulin need is required because insulin treatment is costly and the international insulin market is presently dominated by only three major manufacturers, the researchers noted. (IANS)

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New AI Model by Google Can Help Detect Diabetic Retinopathy

For this purpose, it recently launched the "Google AI Impact Challenge"

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Google's new AI model to help detect diabetic retinopathy. Pixabay

Google has developed an Artificial Intelligence (AI) model that can detect diabetic retinopathy with a level of accuracy on par with human retinal specialists, the technology giant said.

Google is working on “rolling out this diabetic retinopathy initiative in clinics in India with Verily” — an Alphabet-owned company which works on life sciences research and development, Kent Walker, SVP of Global Affairs at Google, wrote in a blog post on Thursday.

More than 400 million people in the world have diabetes. A third of them have diabetic retinopathy — a complication that can cause permanent blindness.

“Using the new assistive technology, doctors and staff can screen more patients in less time, sparing people from blindness through a more timely diagnosis,” Walker said.

While the blindness can be prevented, diabetic retinopathy often goes undetected because people do not always get screenings.

“In major part, this is due to limited access to eye care specialists and staff capable of screening for the disease. This is a problem that AI can help us solve,” Walker said.

“Deploying this technology in underserved communities that don’t have enough eye specialists could be life-changing for many,” Walker added.

Diabetes
Representational image. Pixabay

Google began work on the model in collaboration with eye specialists in India and the US a few years back. They developed an AI system to help doctors analyse images of the back of the eye for signs of diabetic retinopathy.

“The results were promising,” Walker noted, while adding “we should work to make the benefits of AI available to everyone”.

Google has for several years applied AI research and engineering to projects in Asia Pacific with positive societal impact, including stopping illegal fishing in Indonesia, forecasting floods in India, and conserving native bird species in New Zealand, the blog post read.

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Besides healthcare, the tech giant also wants to support more Asia Pacific organisations in using AI to help society by engaging with governments, non-profit organisations, universities and businesses.

For this purpose, it recently launched the “Google AI Impact Challenge”.

“Selected organisations who apply to the challenge will receive support from Google’s AI experts and Google.org grant funding from a $25 million pool,” Walker said. (IANS)