Diabetes UK – State of the Nation

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Diabetes UK is the leading UK charity that campaigns on behalf of people affected by and at risk of diabetes. The charity has just published its annual 'State of the Nation' report which highlights that, despite the fact spending on diabetes accounts for about 10% of the entire NHS budget, there has been very little overall improvement in diabetes healthcare in the past year. This poor diabetes care is leading to avoidable deaths, record rates of complications and huge costs to the NHS.

Diabetes is a condition that requires careful management
The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) recommends best practice guides that should be followed to help people manage their condition, but the report shows that 40% of people with Type 1 diabetes are not receiving their annual checks and therefore are not getting the support that they need to “self-manage their condition effectively.”

It is claimed that the vast majority of the NHS budget is being spent on treating complications of diabetes rather than being invested on the good healthcare that could prevent them.

Barbara Young, the Chief Executive of Diabetes UK, believes “This is not a question of spending more money. In fact, better ongoing standards of care will save money and reduce pressure on NHS resources.

“It’s about people getting the checks they need at their GP surgery and giving people the support and education they need to be able to manage their own condition. Doing this, together with improving diabetes care in hospital, would give people with diabetes a better chance of a long and healthy life, and save the NHS a significant amount of money.”

Although millions of people are at high risk of Type 2 diabetes, 80% of these cases can be prevented. The report highlights how preventing Type 2 diabetes needs to be a greater priority, effective diabetes care and self-management now can reduce the long-term cost and impact of complications.

It also welcomes the announcement from NHS England of a national Type 2 diabetes prevention programme in England, which will be launched in partnership with the charity.

Symptoms you should not ignore:
  • Passing urine more often than usual, especially at night
  • Increased thirst
  • Extreme tiredness
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Genital itching or regular episodes of thrush
  • Slow healing of cuts and wounds
  • Blurred vision
Undiagnosed and untreated diabetes can cause a number of short term and long term health problems as well as serious complications which can be fatal. You should contact your GP if you have any of the above symptoms.

Complications of diabetes:
  • Heart Disease
  • Stroke
  • Angina
  • Atherosclerosis - where the blood vessels become clogged up and narrowed by fatty substances
  • Peripheral Neuropathy - those parts of the nervous system that lie outside the central nervous system
  • Diabetic Retinopathy - when the retina becomes damaged resulting in poor/loss of vision
  • Kidney failure resulting in the need for kidney replacement treatment with dialysis, or sometimes kidney transplantation
  • Foot ulcer
  • Amputation
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • increased risk of miscarriage and stillbirth
Below are some useful links for further information:
Diabetes UK Site - www.diabetes.org.uk
Diabetes UK Report - State of the Nation


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