Recent study: The number of working-age adults with diabetes is growing, and their disease control is worse than average
A recent registry study investigated the treatment and disease control of Finnish type 2 diabetes patients. The results of the study are noteworthy: the prevalence of the disease is increasing rapidly, and the working-age population has poorer-than-average disease control compared with other age groups. This is a worrying trend for both public health and the quality of life of the affected.
It is estimated that there are more than 500,000 people with diabetes in Finland.1 In particular, the prevalence of type 2 diabetes is increasing rapidly in Finland in all adult age groups, including the working-age population. The pharmaceutical company Novo Nordisk and Oriola recently conducted a study that assessed the prevalence of type 2 diabetes, the patients’ disease control and their pharmacotherapy in Finland from 2014 to 2019.2
In addition to the growing number of patients, a significant finding is the worsening disease control in the working-age population, which can be seen throughout the study period. A key measure of diabetes disease control is long-term blood glucose. During the study period, a third of the working-age population did not achieve the target long-term blood sugar level.
Enhanced control early on is key
Poor control of diabetes in increasingly young age groups is an extremely concerning trend both on an individual level and for public health. In the longer term, poor disease control will lead to an increase in the incidence of diabetes-associated comorbidities, also in younger patients. In addition to the negative effect on an individual’s ability to work and quality of life, this places a burden on healthcare services, as the majority of type 2 diabetes treatment costs are caused by treatment of preventable associated diseases.
Treating diabetes more effectively, particularly in the early stages of the disease, could prevent disease control from worsening and improve patients’ wellbeing. However, regular monitoring of the disease is required in order to identify the need for enhanced treatment. Based on the study, there are shortcomings in the monitoring, especially with regard to diabetic nephropathy.
Registry studies support data-driven decision-making in healthcare
Oriola was responsible for coordinating the study and for collecting and analysing the registry data. Data were collected from the Care Register for Health Care of the Finnish National Institute for Health and Welfare (THL), from the Drug Reimbursement Register of the Social Insurance Institution of Finland (KELA), from the Prescription Centre drug register, and from hospital districts’ data lakes.
“Utilising real-world data in research supports data-driven decision-making in healthcare. These kinds of registry studies can be utilised, for example, to evaluate the effectiveness of treatment and for producing comparative data on different treatment options. The Nordic countries form a good environment for research, as the countries have fairly similar legislation and they all provide opportunities for secondary electronic data collection and forming country-wide cohorts,” says Timo Purmonen, Head of Oriola’s Data-Driven Business and Market Access services.
1 Working group set up by the Finnish Medical Society Duodecim, the Finnish Society of Internal Medicine and the Medical Advisory Board of the Finnish Diabetes Association. Type 2 diabetes. Current Care Guideline 18 May 2020. Available online in Finnish at: www.kaypahoito.fi.
2 Vessari H, et al. Alle 60-vuotiaiden tyypin 2 diabeteksen hoitotasapaino on keskimääräistä huonompi – rekisteritutkimus vuosilta 2014–2019, Finnish Medical Journal 2023; 78 : e36277 www.laakarilehti.fi/e36277 (Published on 21 September 2023). In Finnish. Abstract in English.