Barely a fifth of people diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes during the last four years have their condition under control, according to a new analysis.
The analysis, based on National Diabetes Audit data, shows that just 22.4 per cent of those who have had Type 2 diabetes for up to four years (thought to be about 1 million people) meet recommended levels for blood glucose, cholesterol and blood pressure.
Just 14 per cent of people with Type 2 are offered diabetes education
This is a concern because people not meeting the recommended levels are at increased risk of future complications such as kidney failure and amputation. And there is evidence that unless Type 2 diabetes is controlled well at the start, the body adapts to having high glucose levels and so the longer this goes on the more difficult it is to get under control.
This highlights the importance of giving people with Type 2 diabetes the support they need as soon as they are diagnosed. But at the moment just 14 per cent of people with Type 2 are offered diabetes education soon after being diagnosed, despite the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence recommending that this be offered to everyone with diabetes. Diabetes UK is calling for the Government and the NHS to do more to ensure people get the support and education they need to be able to quickly take control of the condition.
National launch of free educational events about Type 2 diabetes
Today we have also announced a national series of free educational events about Type 2 diabetes. The Living with Diabetes Days, funded by the charity's National Charity Partnership with Tesco, will give information about how people can better manage their condition. While they are available to everyone with Type 2 diabetes, they are aimed in particular at those who have recently been diagnosed with the condition. The events are being held at 80 locations across the UK and it is expected that 10,000 people with Type 2 diabetes will attend them over the next two years.
The Living with Diabetes Days will give people the chance to learn how to maintain a healthy diet and become better able to manage their diabetes; ask health professionals questions and get practical up-to-date information; and meet other people with the condition.
"It's important to get Type 2 diabetes under control as quickly as possible."
Barbara Young, Chief Executive of Diabetes UK, 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.
“This means many hundreds of thousands of people are at increased risk of developing health complications such as kidney failure and amputation, which have a devastating impact on people’s lives and are fuelling the high death rate in people with the condition. And while it’s important that everyone with diabetes has their condition under control, if people with Type 2 do not get it under control quickly then it becomes progressively harder to do this so speed is vital in terms of getting people the support they need.
“Unfortunately, a big part of the reason that so many people with Type 2 are starting off on the wrong path is the lack of available diabetes education. 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 no 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.
“We also hope that our Living With Diabetes days will give people the information they need to become more confident in managing their diabetes and so better able to get their condition under control and so give themselves the best possible chance of a long and healthy life. It is a great example of our National Charity Partnership with Tesco delivering real benefits for people with diabetes.”