A million people are estimated to have been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in the last four years, but analysis from Diabetes UK has found that barely a fifth of these people have their condition under control.
This is a worryingly low figure, because good diabetes management is paramount in preventing severe complications from developing. Heart disease, kidney failure, amputation, blindness and stroke are some of the most common long term complications of the disease.
There is also evidence that suggests weak control over blood glucose levels can condition the body to having high concentrations of sugar in the blood, making it harder to regain control and healthy sugar levels. This means that the first four years after diagnosis are incredibly important and makes the fact that only 14% of people are offered diabetes education when diagnosed even more worrying.
The cost of treating diabetes is an estimated 10% of the NHS’ budget. The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) and Diabetes UK promote increasing the availability of education to improve diabetes management. This could reduce the need for complication treatment and save some of the budget.
It has been proven that people with type 2 diabetes who regularly test their blood sugar levels, as those on insulin dependent treatment do, can significantly increase their control, as they can immediately see how their blood sugar levels are reacting at any given point, and work out how to manage them more effectively.
Barbara Young, chief executive of the leading diabetes charity, said: “With increasing evidence about the importance of getting type 2 diabetes under control as quickly as possible, it is extremely worrying that just one in five people diagnosed with the condition in the last four years have it under control.”
To combat this, the charity and the supermarket Tesco have teamed up to bring the Living with Diabetes days to the country. These free educational events will give information on how people can better their management of type 2 diabetes.
“It is unrealistic to expect people to be able to manage their condition well if they are not given information about how to do this and so it is not surprising that so many people do not have it under control. This is why we want the NHS to give every person with diabetes the chance to have this kind of education,” Ms. Young added.

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