I seem to be a rare breed

By | 3 June, 2010

An even rarer breed than me

Diabetes is in my life everyday – living with it, blogging about it, speaking to other people with it. That makes it a bit hard to get it into perspective. Some numbers about the pancreatically challenged masses in the UK may help, all shamelessly cribbed from Diabetes UK’s latest impact report (apart from the panda bit, obviously).

In the UK:

1 person is diagnosed with some form of diabetes every 3 minutes – not a very cheery story, but it’s nice to know I’m part of a growing market, it certainly gives me more power as a consumer of diabetes junk.

2.6m people have diabetes – that’s about 4% of the UK population. Of course that includes everyone – type 1, type 2 etc.

Those of us with Type 1 are a rarer breed; there are around 390,000 of us including 21,000 children.

Between us all, the pancreatically challenged hoards consume £1 million an hour of NHS budget. I’ll argue to the end of the earth that we’re worth every penny, but just think how much that could be reduced by if we got a bit of efficiency into the system.

When it comes to those of us with Type 1 who use an insulin pump, we’re not quite as rare as the giant panda, but any self respecting, anorak wearing diabetic-watcher would be excited to spot one of us in the wild. We make up just 2% of the Type 1 population, that means there are fewer than 8,000 of us in the UK.

If I want to bathe in my relative uniqueness, I should stay in the UK because in other European member states 10-20% of Type 1’s use pumps. Because on most days I am able to see past my own ego and into the harsh realities of life I take that as a very useful stat with which to rally the troops about our appalling inability to get new technology into everyday diabetes care.

And what about that little talked about sub-species of which I am one. The robots of the diabetes world with their subcutaneous sensors and wireless transmitters – the Type 1 with a pump and CGM? We’re such a rare breed I can’t even find a number for us!

4 thoughts on “I seem to be a rare breed

  1. Tim

    I’m shocked there are only 8,000 people with pumps in the UK. I think most of them go to Shoot Up nights out – us MDI people are in minority for those nights out.

  2. Cecile

    @teloz: That’s just because you insist on being a number 2!

    According to the IDF, 1,283,400 (4.5%) of the SAn population are diabetic, but there are no data to be found to differentiate between type 1 & 2… though most newly diagnosed souls here are urbanised Black type 2s, so I guess the percentage of type 1s might be slighly lower than the usual 10% extrapolation used in Europe and USA. That leaves me wild doggish as a type 1 and golden molish as far as using analog insulin goes…local state hospitals consider Actrapid & Protaphane as cutting edge therapy. As pumper you’ll be classified as a quagga named Dolly 😉

  3. Hairy Gnome

    @Cecile I’m not a pumper, me! Nor am I an extinct SAn zebroid (thank Gaia for Google!), I’m just a gnome, though not of the garden variety! 😉

    The reason I’m not a pumper is that they couldn’t find a pump to deliver the quantities of insulin I squirt into my corpus with monotonous regularity, I would need a trolley carrying a small generator to provide a 240v supply for the pump and a 30 litre container of insulin. I suppose we could nick the control system from an automotive engine management system… I digress…

    I honestly don’t think they consider pumps for T2s, those of us that are insulin dependent just have to continuously abuse ourselves with MDI. Thinking on it though, I don’t know how many T2s are insulin dependent, so maybe I’m not as common as I thought… 😉


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