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What you don’t know could hurt you

People with diabetes could be putting their health at serious risk because of a worrying lack of awareness about their condition, according to our new survey*.

The survey of 1,000 people with diabetes shows that a quarter of 16- to 34-year-olds do not know whether they have Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes. The figure is even higher for those aged over 75.

“This points to a potentially fatal gap in knowledge for some people with diabetes,” said Simon O’Neill, Director of Care, Information and Advocacy Services at Diabetes UK.

“There are people with diabetes out there who are unsure of the fundamental facts about their condition. What else could they be missing in terms of treatment and complications of diabetes?

“If not managed effectively, diabetes can lead to serious complications including heart disease and stroke. These findings are particularly worrying as they involve young and old people with diabetes who are especially vulnerable. This shows how crucial it is to raise awareness of diabetes as the condition continues to affect an increasing number of people in the UK.”

Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes are two distinctly different conditions. Although some aspects of the conditions are the same, treatment can vary greatly. Type 1 diabetes is treated by insulin injections and diet, and regular exercise is recommended. Type 2 diabetes is treated with lifestyle changes such as a healthier diet, weight loss and increased physical activity. Tablets and/or insulin may also be required to achieve normal blood glucose levels.

10 to 16 June is Diabetes Week 2007, and this year's theme is 'Small change, big difference'. Diabetes UK wants everyone, with or without diabetes, to make a small change by learning more about the condition. Education and awareness of diabetes will make a big difference to individuals and their friends and family who could be affected by the condition.

Diabetes is one of the biggest health challenges that we face today. There are currently 2.2 million people in the UK with the condition and that figure is expected to rise to over 3 million in 2010. Currently, up to 750,000 people have Type 2 diabetes and do not yet know it. Around £10,000 per minute is spent by the NHS on treating diabetes and its complications.


* Akadine Non Members Survey - February 2007

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