Insulin Shortage

03 April 2019

Lab Chat

According to research, around 9% of all adults around the world suffer from diabetes. The condition can cause kidney failure, heart problems, neuropathic pain and even sometimes lead to amputation and blindness. Diabetes is caused by a lack of working insulin, which breaks down glucose in the blood and transports in to cells to produce energy. Without this function, diabetics can suffer from energy shortages and could even slip into a coma without proper management of their condition.

Diabetes is broken down into two types – type 1 and type 2. Type 1 diabetes cannot be prevented or managed without insulin, whereas type 2 can often be controlled with a change in lifestyle. For those living with diabetes, particularly type 1, insulin injections are crucial for living a healthy life. With over 1 million diabetics living in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), some experts are fearful that not all those in need will have access to lifesaving insulin in the coming years.

Expensive medication

Globally, it is predicted that around 511 million people will be affected by type 2 diabetes by 2030, with only 38 million people predicted to have access to insulin, based on current resources.

Particularly in Africa and Asia, insulin is predicted to be out of reach for the majority of diabetics within the next decade, with access and affordability being key contributors to the issue. Scientists are currently working on a potential solution, in which insulin will be administered through a pill rather than injection, that could be produced for a mass market.

Shortage in the UAE?

Despite the global concerns for insulin, experts in the UAE are not worried. Researchers have allayed concerns, explaining that the vast majority of diabetics suffer from type 2 diabetes, which doesn’t always need insulin to manage the condition.

Type 2 diabetes is linked to obesity and a lack of exercise, which has increased rapidly in recent years, especially in the developing world as more people are starting to adopt a Western, urban lifestyle

Health authorities also announced last year that the diabetes rate in the country dropped around 7% from 2013 to 2017, partly due to the widespread effort to combat and control the disease. So, with continued government effort and support, the global increase in diabetes diagnosis over the next decade may not have much impact in the UAE.

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