Launch of global Type 1 Diabetes Index, the first-of-its-kind index, raises awareness of the burden and unmet need of people living with Type 1 diabetes around the world.
Today, the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF), a research partner of Diabetes Ireland, announced the launch of the Type 1 Diabetes Index (T1D Index). The T1D Index is a first-of-its-kind data simulation tool that measures the human and public health impact of the Type 1 diabetes crisis in every country across the globe. Until now, there have been wide gaps in the data about the incidence, prevalence and impact of Type 1 diabetes. Leveraging data and insights from the T1D Index can help change the lives of people living with the condition by identifying attainable country-by-country interventions including timely diagnosis, accessible care and funding research that could lead to cures. The T1D Index and accompanying research has been published in the leading diabetes and endocrinology medical journal, The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology.
Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune condition and one of the fastest-growing chronic health conditions, impacting nearly 9 million people across the globe. Certain factors like family history can increase risk, but it is not caused by diet or lifestyle. Type 1 Diabetes causes the pancreas to make very little insulin or none at all — this means the human body cannot convert food into energy, which can lead to long-term complications including damage to the kidneys, eyes, nerves, heart and even premature death. There is currently no cure for T1D.
“As a member of the Type 1 diabetes community, I know many are not as fortunate as I am to have the resources necessary to live a healthy and fulfilled life,” Aaron Kowalski, Ph.D., JDRF CEO, said. “This is why I am so proud that significant progress has been made to understand the global impact of the condition through the T1D Index. We are calling on government and public health decision makers throughout the world to utilize the tool to identify and implement interventions that can change the trajectory of Type 1 Diabetes.”
Key partners and experts from around the world collaborated with JDRF who developed the T1D Index using the results from a global survey of more than 500 endocrinologists and 400 publications to simulate the state of T1D globally and at the country level.
The T1D Index uniquely illuminates the human burden of T1D by highlighting “missing people,” which is the number of people who would still be alive today if they had not died early due to complications from Type 1 Diabetes, and “healthy years lost,” which represents time lost to ill-health, disability or early death from living with Type 1 diabetes.
Simulations from the T1D Index suggest that across the globe as of 2022 there are more than 3.86 million “missing people” and an average of 32 “healthy years lost” to Type 1 diabetes per person, if diagnosed at age 10. These stats, however, are different for people living in developed countries like Ireland compared to other developing and under-resourced countries with the number of “healthy years lost” being the highest in the under-resourced countries with poor access to health services. In well-developed and richer countries, life-expectancy continuously improves thanks to better treatments and care.
Type 1 diabetes has a profound human, emotional and financial burden for those who live with it—and prevalence is on the rise everywhere. Simulations from the T1D Index have led to the identification of four key interventions that could change the current trajectory for Type 1 Diabetes and its impact on people around the world:
- Timely diagnosis: enabling better education and training for medical professionals to accurately diagnose T1D. If the global population has access to timely diagnosis from 2023, 668,000 more people could be alive in 2040.
- Insulin and strips: creating barrier-free access to insulin and blood glucose testing strips. If the global population has access to insulin and testing strips from 2023, and coaching to self-manage the condition, 1.98 million more people could be alive in 2040.
- Pumps and CGMs: ensuring everyone living with T1D has access to technology that automates glucose monitoring and insulin delivery. 673,000 more people could be alive in 2040 if everyone with T1D has access to the technology available from 2023.
- Prevention and cures: making the case for further investment and research in emerging prevention, treatments and cures. 890,000 more people could be alive in 2040 if we find cures.
In Ireland, we are very fortunate to have access to free medications, including insulin since the early 70s and the Government continues to provide that access to approximately 300,000 people today through the Long-Term Illness Scheme. We also have good access via the scheme to most insulin pumps and CGMs but the lack of diabetes nursing resources delays rapid access to them, especially for adults with Type 1 diabetes, and this is something Diabetes Ireland wants to see addressed and is included as a priority need in its Pre-Budget Submission 2023.
Dr Kate Gajewska, Advocacy and Research Manager, Diabetes Ireland said “the uptake of technology is relatively poor in Ireland when compared to other European countries as many hospitals do not currently have sufficient nursing and dietetic resources to put people with Type 1 diabetes on an insulin pump or CGM. We also want to see flash glucose monitoring systems, currently available in Ireland only for people under 21 years of age become more widely available similar to all other Western European countries and automated insulin delivery systems become readily available based on clinical need going forward. As a person living with Type 1 diabetes here in Ireland, I hope to see a cure found in my lifetime and why can’t it be in Ireland as we now have fantastic research facilities in many of our universities and this should be a top priority of our research agenda here in Ireland. But until we find a cure – I would like to see all people with diabetes in Ireland accessing the same quality of diabetes care without the post code lottery”.
Additionally, the T1D Index shines a light on important statistics about the burden of Type 1 diabetes globally, including:
- Since 2000, Type 1 diabetes prevalence has increased at four times the rate of global population growth.
- The expected number of people living with Type 1 diabetes in 2040 will be 17.43 million.
- The number of “missing people” in the year 2040 is projected to be 6.85 million.
“In Ireland, it is anticipated there are approximately 28,000 people living with Type 1 diabetes of which 3,000 are people under 18 years of age. However, there is a huge disparity between access to paediatric diabetes services and adult Type 1 diabetes services in terms of regular access to services and quicker access to technology that will help improve management quality and longevity of life for people living with Type a diabetes” added Dr Gajewska.
Issued September 21st 2022