Type 1 diabetics in Australia have poor access to insulin pump therapy, report shows

by Barbara Hewitt on September 10, 2014

More people with type 1 diabetes in Australia should have access to insulin pump therapy — only 12% can currently use it, according to a new report from Diabetes Australia.

It wants federal and state governments and private health insurance companies to support a more integrated and comprehensive approach to insulin pump therapy and related new technology so that more Australian families affected by type 1 diabetes can benefit from advances in treatment.

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Only 12% of Type 1 diabetics in Australia currently have access to insulin pump therapy

Diabetes Australia chief executive officer Professor Greg Johnson said that while there are 118,000 Australians with type 1 diabetes, only 12%, or 14,990 people, have access to insulin pump therapy due to cost, access and limited availability.

‘Australia is lagging behind the US, which has about twice the level of access to insulin pump therapy for people with type 1 diabetes,’ he added.

He pointed out that insulin pump therapy can be life-changing and together with new technologies such as continuous glucose monitors, potentially lifesaving for people with type 1 diabetes.

An insulin pump is a small battery-operated electronic device about the size of a mobile phone and is worn 24 hours a day. The rapid acting insulin is delivered via an infusion set, which is inserted under the skin, delivering insulin continuously.

Research has shown that insulin pump therapy can reduce the frequency of severe hypoglycaemia as well as improve the quality of life of pump users. Using a pump may also improve blood glucose control.

The latest Australian data suggests around one in five adults with type 1 diabetes may experience hypoglycaemia unawareness and be more at risk of dangerous low blood glucose levels. Insulin pumps, continuous glucose monitoring and newer closed loop systems can potentially help prevent hypoglycaemia.

‘Access to diabetes technology such as insulin pumps should be available for Australians of all ages living with type 1 diabetes based on high or urgent clinical needs and also for women preparing for and during pregnancy,’ Professor Johnson said.

He added that they are also good for pregnant woman as they can help achieve optimal blood glucose levels, which are important for the healthy development of the baby, with less frequent hypoglycaemic episodes for the expectant mother, and more convenience and flexibility during labour.


The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of the DiabetesForum.com Community and should not be interpreted as medical advice. Please see your doctor before making any changes to your diabetes management plan.

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