Type 2 Diabetes Prevention Week

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Type 2 Diabetes Prevention Week is taking place from 22-28 May this year, to raise awareness of the risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes and how you can prevent your chances of developing it. In this article we discuss the symptoms of Type 2 diabetes, the type of care you should be receiving for diabetes and the problems with medical negligence when it comes to diabetes care.

There are 13.6 million people in the UK at increased risk of developing Type 2 diabetes – that accounts for around 20% of the population. There are measures you can take to reduce your risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, which you can read more about in this article.

Sadly many of those who are already living with Type 2 diabetes are facing serious problems with getting the care and support they need. Following Covid-19, there is immense pressure on the NHS and huge backlogs in waiting times for referrals and check-ups for diabetes.

Diabetes UK have recently reported that, following Covid-19, thousands more people are dying in England due to diabetes, and many people are developing serious health complications that could have been prevented if they received the right care. If you believe you or a loved one experienced medical negligence in relation to diabetes, our Medical Negligence lawyers could help you make a claim for compensation.

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What is Type 2 Diabetes?

Diabetes occurs in two types. Type 1 is a genetic condition, whereas Type 2 develops over time and is mainly caused by lifestyle-related factors.

Type 2 diabetes affects around 90% of people that have diabetes – it’s when your body is unable to make enough insulin, or the insulin that you do make doesn’t work properly.

There are some factors that put you at risk of developing Type 2 diabetes – while there is sadly no cure for Type 2, the condition can be prevented and even put into remission. The risk factors for developing Type 2 diabetes include:

  • Your family history;
  • Your ethnic background – for example, you’re more at risk of developing Type 2 if you’re from a Black African, African Caribbeans or South Asian background;
  • Age – you’re more likely if you get Type 2 if you’re over 40;
  • Being overweight or obese – so maintaining a healthy weight through diet and exercise is very important in preventing Type 2.

Symptoms of Type 2 Diabetes

Unfortunately, it can be easy for people to miss Type 2 symptoms because they appear slowly, and they don’t necessarily make you feel unwell. Many people can have diabetes for years without realising, so if you have any concerns it’s very important to visit your GP. Symptoms can include:

  • Urinating more than usual, especially at night;
  • Feeling thirsty all the time;
  • Feeling fatigued;
  • Losing weight without trying to;
  • Cuts or wounds that take longer to heal.

If you have any of these symptoms or you’re worried you could have a higher risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, see your GP as soon as possible, as they can give you a blood test to diagnose it.

The earlier diabetes is diagnosed and treated, the better. Early treatment reduces your risk of developing other health problems like heart disease, stroke, nerve damage or diabetic foot problems.

What Type of Diabetes Care Should I Expect?

As it’s possible to prevent Type 2 diabetes, there are many prevention measures you can take to live a healthier lifestyle. With the right support, 50% of cases of Type 2 diabetes can be prevented or delayed.

 However, medical professionals also have a duty of care to:

  • Identify your symptoms as soon as possible – delays in the diagnosis of diabetes can lead to serious health complications;
  • Conduct a series of annual checks if you have diabetes;
  • Signpost people to the correct specialist care to prevent their diabetes from becoming worse or causing other complications.

Doctors have a responsibility to conduct a blood test if you’re showing possible signs of Type 2 diabetes, and if you are then diagnosed, you should receive regular checks and appointments to make sure your condition is managed effectively. For example, you should expect:

  • A diabetes management plan that is catered to you and your lifestyle, including a plan for weight loss and Type 2 remission if this is necessary for you;
  • A review of your emotional wellbeing and mental health needs;
  • A review of your medication;

You should also have diabetes checks and tests every year including:

  • A HbA1c test – which checks your blood sugar levels;
  • A blood pressure check;
  • A cholesterol test;
  • Blood and urine tests;
  • Eye screening;
  • A foot check – as people with diabetes are more at risk of developing foot complications;
  • Pregnancy reviews and checks if you’re planning to have a baby.

The Problems with Diabetes Care in the UK

In a new report, Diabetes UK have found that only about half of people living with diabetes in England received all of the required checks from 2021-22. This means that 1.9 million people did not receive the care they needed. Tragically, there are 7,000 more people with diabetes losing their lives every year, compared to pre-pandemic levels.

A survey found that many people were not able to be as physically active or healthy as normal during the Covid-19 pandemic – and this crisis is worsening because of the increase in cost of living. The NHS have made it a key priority to cut long waits and speed up response times, however, they have acknowledged there is still a lot of work to be done to ensure healthcare services are sufficient so that people living with conditions like diabetes receive the care they need.

If you did not receive the appropriate medical care in relation to your diabetes, it may have caused you or your loved one unnecessary pain and suffering – the mismanagement of diabetes can lead to serious complications. If you believe you experienced medical negligence, our specialist lawyers could help you make a claim for compensation.

Here are some examples of chronic complications that can develop as a result of medical negligence in your diabetes care. If you’re unsure whether you’d be eligible to make a claim, simply get in touch with our specialist team today for a Free Case Assessment.

Chronic Complications of Diabetes

  • Eye conditions (diabetic retinopathy) caused by high blood sugar levels – this can lead to blindness if it’s left undiagnosed or untreated;
  • Sexual problems in both men and women, from restricted blood flow;
  • Urinary tract infections;
  • The need for an amputation of the toe, foot, or even the whole leg, because of incurable problems with lower limbs caused by diabetes. Read more about why referrals are so important for diabetic people with foot issues;
  • Difficulty healing wounds, particularly in the lower body, which can cause serious infections, and can increase the risk of developing sepsis;
  • Numbness and nerve damage (neuropathy);
  • Kidney disease;
  • Hyperosmolar Hyperglycaemic State (HHS), which can be caused by stopping diabetes medication, and is potentially life-threatning;
  • Heart disease or stroke due to high cholesterol.

How We Can Help if You’ve Suffered Medical Negligence

We generally have excellent standards of healthcare in England and Wales, but mistakes and oversights do happen and we have seen the devastating impact this has had on diabetes care in recent years.

We are pleased that the NHS have a dedicated multi-million pound budget which aims to restore routine diabetes care to pre-pandemic levels, and we support Diabetes UK’s campaign for the government to draw up plans to tackle healthcare backlogs, health inequalities and diabetes support services.

However, unfortunately these measures are being  taken too late for those who have already suffered medical negligence in relation to their diabetes. If you developed a serious condition or had a loved one whose death might’ve been prevented if they received the right diabetes care, this can be an extremely devastating time.

You might be unsure whether you experienced medical negligence, or know where you would start with making a claim for compensation, but our team are here to listen to your situation and let you know the next steps – we’ll be on your side throughout to provide expert advice.

We will let you know if we can take your claim forward, and gather evidence with the help of medical experts to prove that a medical professional could have taken action to prevent your diabetes complications from worsening.

You usually have 3 years to make a claim for compensation for medical negligence, so even if you developed diabetes complications or lost a loved one to diabetes at the start of the pandemic, it’s worth you speaking to our expert Medical Negligence lawyers.

We often deal with these claims on a No Win, No Fee basis, so call us today to see how we can help you.

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