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Nearly half of UK public don’t know that diabetes can cause erectile dysfunction


We're launching a new digital tool to help people understand more about the condition and how to manage it.

Our new online research has revealed that nearly half of the UK public (48 per cent) did not know if diabetes can cause erectile dysfunction or impotence, a common diabetes-related complication. 

The poll of more than 2,000 UK adults carried out by YouGov on our behalf also showed that nearly half of respondents (45 per cent) did not know if more people in the UK have diabetes than cancer and dementia combined. And one in ten (10 per cent) said they did not know whether people with diabetes can consume any sugar at all.  

The findings mark the launch of our self-management education platform, Learning Zone, which aims to help people understand more about diabetes and how to manage it. 

Register to Learning Zone

There are 3.7 million people diagnosed with diabetes in the UK − about 90 per cent are estimated to have Type 2 and 10 per cent have Type 1.

Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune condition where the body doesn’t produce insulin. We don’t know what causes it, but it has nothing to do with being overweight and it is not currently preventable.

Type 2 diabetes can be caused by a variety of factors, some of which are out of people’s control, including age, family history and ethnic background. People who are overweight are more likely to get Type 2 diabetes, and three in five cases can be prevented with more exercise and healthy eating.

Both types can lead to complications, because high blood sugar, blood pressure and blood fats can seriously damage parts of the body including the eyes and feet, and sexual organs in both men and women. However, with the right treatment, knowledge and support, people with diabetes can lead a long, full and healthy life.

Kathryn Kirchner, Clinical Advisor at Diabetes UK, said:

“On average, people with diabetes spend three hours a year with a healthcare professional. For the remaining 8,757 hours they manage their diabetes themselves. The lack of awareness around the impact it has on the body shapes people’s approach on how to self-manage.

“Diabetes self-management education can help anyone who has been diagnosed to stay healthy, live well and avoid debilitating complications. But, it can be hard to find trusted sources of information online that actually help people safely manage their condition.

“That’s why we created an innovative digital service to provide tailored and easy to understand advice that’s been clinically approved and grounded in the latest medical research.

“We hope that this is the start of a new era in diabetes education where online learning can be used alongside education courses to improve quality of life and reduce the risk of complications for people with the condition.”

If you are living with Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes you can try Learning Zone, by visiting

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