A staggering 235,000 people have been diagnosed with diabetes in the last year, Diabetes UK has announced today, on the launch of Diabetes Week 2016 (12–18 June).
The charity is highlighting the scale of the ‘diabetes epidemic’, forecasting that by the end of Diabetes Week 4,500 people will have been diagnosed with the life-changing condition.
Throughout the next week, Diabetes UK and people living with diabetes will be highlighting the many myths and misconceptions that surround this complex and often misunderstood condition in order to drive up awareness.
Research shows still a lack of understanding
Worryingly, new research released today by Diabetes UK shows there is still a lack of understanding surrounding diabetes, with many people not recognising the seriousness of the condition. A recent survey of 1,491 GB adults 15+ found that 53% of people are unaware that poorly managed diabetes can lead to often devastating complications such as heart attack and strokes. The poll also found that one in three people, when asked, thought that it was true that Type 1 diabeteswas linked to being overweight, when in fact it is not linked to lifestyle whatsoever and there is nothing that can be done to prevent it.
The charity is concerned that confusions such as this could lead to people making false assumptions about the condition and are calling on everyone to become diabetes aware by urging them to take some time this week to learn about the signs and symptoms, especially when Type 2 diabetes can take up to ten years to be diagnosed, unlike Type 1 where symptoms tend to come on rapidly.
Chris Askew, Chief Executive of Diabetes UK, said: “This Diabetes Week we are setting the record straight and focusing on the realities of living with the condition. There is still a lack of understanding when it comes to people being aware of the seriousness of diabetes and this worries us at Diabetes UK.
There are over four million people living with the condition in the UK. The fact that 4,500 people will discover they have diabetes over the next seven days is deeply concerning, and highlights the current scale of the crisis.”
Despite the stark warning, the charity is also using the week to share many stories from people living with diabetes but who do not let the condition hold them back.
"Diabetes doesn't have to hold anyone back"
Chris Askew continued: “Diabetes Week is a time to share our concerns about the scale and seriousness of diabetes, but it is also a fantastic opportunity to highlight that with the right healthcare, support and management, diabetes doesn’t have to hold anyone back.”
High profile supporters are backing the week, including EastEnders star Jonny Labey, who has Type 1 diabetes and the Hairy Bikers, as well as singer and stage star Alexandra Burke.
Alexandra understands more than most how the condition can be misunderstood. Alexandra’s mother has Type 2 diabetes and is on kidney dialysis as a result of her condition. Alexandra said, “The biggest misconception I feel people have around Type 2 diabetes is that it can just be left and not treated.”
Throughout the week, the charity will be asking people to share their stories of living with diabetes. For more information on how to share your story or to get more information on the week please go to the Diabetes Week page.