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!