In 2020, over 16,000 people living with type 2 diabetes-initiated insulin therapy according to the National (insulin-treated) Diabetes Register (1,800 per 100,000 population).
Insulin is a hormone made by beta cells in the pancreas. For people living with type 1 diabetes, the body does not produce insulin and daily insulin injections or infusion via an insulin pump are required to survive. Not all people living with type 2 diabetes require insulin therapy initially, but most will require some form of insulin treatment to maintain blood glucose levels over time. For people with type 2 diabetes, insulin is now considered a second-line therapy after initial treatment with metformin, depending on the clinical context, and early intervention with insulin can be beneficial for long-term outcomes in some patients (Wong and Tabet 2015).
Age and sex
In 2020, the incidence of insulin therapy in people living with type 2 diabetes was:
- highest for both males and females aged 10–39 (4,100 and 7,700 per 100,000 populations, respectively) and decreased with age (Figure 3)
- 4.8 times as high in people aged 10–39 as those aged 85 and higher (5,700 and 1,200 per 100,000 respectively)
- higher for males compared with females for all age groups except 10–39 (Figure 3)
- overall, 1.5 times as high for females compared with males after adjusting for the different age structures of the population.
Figure 3: Incidence of insulin therapy for type 2 diabetes, by age and sex, 2020