Statistics, statistics, statistics

By | 13 May, 2009
Stock photo of some stats. Pretty cool, huh?

Diabetes UK have just published their Key Statistics on Diabetes report, 2009. It makes for interesting reading and certainly puts the diabetes problem into perspective. Here’s a look at some of the numbers.

Diabetes affects 246 million people worldwide and is expected to affect 380 million by 2025 – so we’re definitely not alone! There are 2.5 million people in the UK who have been diagnosed with diabetes.

Of that 2.5 million, around 15% or 370,000 have type one diabetes – we’re a significant minority in the big world of diabetes, and there’s a constant battle to differentiate between T1 and T2. But at the moment, as a T1 in the UK I can see real opportunity for healthcare improvements as a result of the huge growth of people with T2 – it means that diabetes is firmly on the government agenda. It’s seen as a significant issue that needs addressing, which opens the doors for improvements in care for T1’s and T2’s.

And why are the government interested in fixing the diabetes problem? Because we’re very expensive.

Current estimates show that around 10% per cent of the NHS budget is spent on diabetes. This works out at around £9 billion a year. Or:

– £173 million a week
– £25 million a day
– £1 million an hour
– £17,000 a minute
– £286 a second.

Whichever way you look at it, we’re not cheap to keep.

As I pointed out to my PCT when I was applying for funding for my insulin pump and CGMS, the presence of diabetic complications increases NHS costs more than five-fold, and increases by five the chance of a person needing hospital admission. In other words, it’s far cheaper to help me stay healthy than to pick up the pieces later when it all goes wrong.

That’s the argument I use all the time, it works on every level – financially, morally, ethically – it’s always better to prevent the problem rather than treat it later. Unless perhaps you’re an NHS finance director with an annual budget to balance who doesn’t intend to be in the job when the cost of my complications arrives 20 years from now!

All figures in this article are sourced from the Diabetes UK Key Statistics on Diabetes report, 2009

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About Alison

Diagnosed with Type One in 1983 at the age of four, Alison's been at this for a while now. She uses Humalog in a combined insulin pump and continuous glucose monitoring system and any blood glucose meter as long as it takes five seconds or less.

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