Why The Forecast For Type 1 Diabetes Prevalence Does Not Look Promising

Type 1 diabetes is a chronic condition that impacts many individuals around the globe. When a person suffers from Type 1 diabetes, their pancreas is unable to produce sufficient amounts of a hormone called insulin, points out Mayo Clinic. This hormone controls how much glucose gets converted into energy. While Type 1 diabetes is less common than Type 2 diabetes, this condition is growing fast, according to data from a new modeling study published in The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology journal.

The data suggested that 8.4 million people worldwide were affected by Type 1 diabetes in 2021. But, by 2040 this number is expected to double. To be exact, approximately 17.4 million people worldwide will be affected by Type 1 diabetes.

In addition, researchers from this study reported that roughly 35,000 individuals went undiagnosed and died within 12 months from onset symptoms. "It is unacceptable that, in 2022, some 35,000 people worldwide are dying undiagnosed within a year of onset of symptoms. There also continues to be a huge disparity in life expectancy for people with type 1 diabetes, hitting those in the poorest countries hardest," explains endocrinologist and senior vice-president of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes, Dr. Chantal Mathieu (via WebMD).

More findings from the study

Unfortunately, it's well known that socioeconomic status can impact overall health and this includes diabetes. According to the recent study, roughly 1.8 million people worldwide resided in countries that were either low-income or lower-middle-income. In other words, life expectancy from Type 1 diabetes is heavily impacted by socioeconomic status. And this life expectancy can be drastically different. The researchers explain that a 10-year-old with Type 1 diabetes in a wealthier country can have an average remaining life expectancy of 65 years. However, in lower-income countries, this number drops to 13 years.

The model study predicts that in 2040, the largest relative increase (approximately 60% to 107%) in Type 1 diabetes will come from low-income and lower-middle-income countries when compared to 2021. That's roughly between 13.5 and 17.4 million cases. Improved supervision, care, and prompt diagnosis may be able to help change this story. With more timely diagnosis, Type 1 Diabetes Index explains that about 668,000 more people affected by Type 1 diabetes could be saved by 2040.