New research from Diabetes UK has found that three in five people living with diabetes experience emotional or mental health problems as a result of their condition.
In a survey carried out by Diabetes UK, more than 1000 people of different ages, ethnicities and backgrounds from across the Midlands shared their experiences of living with diabetes today, and what their hopes and fears were for the future.
How diabetes affects emotional wellbeing stood out as a major factor for respondents, with three in five (63.9 per cent East Midlands and 61.9 per cent West Midlands) people saying that they often or sometimes feel down because of their diabetes.
And one in three (30 per cent East Midlands and 33 per cent West Midlands) said that diabetes got in the way of them or a family member doing things they wanted to do. Alarmingly, only a quarter of people in the West Midlands (28 per cent) and one in three in the East Midlands (33 per cent) said they definitely felt in control of their diabetes.
The research also found that 18.5 per cent of respondents in the East Midlands and 17 per cent in the West Midlands had used support or counselling from a trained professional to help them manage their diabetes, and around a third (30 per cent in the East Midlands and 34 per cent in the West Midlands) had at some point relied on self-help materials including books, videos and resources found online.
The charity is urging the Government to radically improve health outcomes for people with diabetes by committing to sustain transformation funding at current levels of £44 million, until at least 2021.
Peter Shorrick, Diabetes UK’s Midlands Regional Head, said:
“Diabetes affects more than 4.5 million people in the UK, and is the fastest-growing health crisis of our time. It can lead to heart disease, stroke, kidney failure and lower limb amputations. This new research brings to light the isolation that can come from managing an invisible condition, and how detrimental living with diabetes can be to a person’s emotional wellbeing without the right support.
“Effective diabetes care requires that a person’s emotional needs are taken into account alongside their physical care needs. We want to see a system where specialist support – from people who understand diabetes – is made available to those who need it.
“But in order to achieve that, we need to see sustained funding of £44 million for the diabetes transformation programme, which sets out to improve the treatment and care for people with diabetes. Investing now will not only allow us to reap substantial financial and social benefits in the future, but more importantly it will help people to live well with diabetes today.”
Carrie Wood, from Derbyshire, has a four-year-old daughter Ava who was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes earlier this year. She is pictured above with daughter Ava.
She explained: “As she is so little I do feel that everything is on me to keep her well and her sugars controlled. Sometimes it can feel very daunting, but I try to just take each day at a time to get through and not worry or focus so much on the future.
“It never leaves me for a second, it is always at the forefront of my mind and at times I certainly feel the pressure.
“But we have little victories which may be normal to most people, but are big achievements for us. Last week she went swimming and then she had her first McDonalds, she had a great day.
"A lot of people have to have a say in Ava’s life and care. For me as a mum that can be tough.
“But we are learning to put diabetes second at times, rather than at the forefront of everything we do. We are learning to be more flexible.”
To find out more and for a copy of the report go to www.diabetes.org.uk/Future-diabetes-news.