New research from Diabetes UK has found that three in five people living with diabetes in the East of England experience emotional or mental health problems as a result of their condition.
In a survey carried out by Diabetes UK, 567 people of different ages, ethnicities and backgrounds from across the East of England 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 (62.9 per cent) people saying that they often or sometimes feel down because of their diabetes. A quarter (27 per cent) said that diabetes got in the way of them or a family member doing things they wanted to do. Alarmingly, only one in three (34 per cent) said they definitely felt in control of their diabetes.
The research also found that 18 per cent of respondents had used support or counselling from a trained professional to help them manage their diabetes, and more than a third (36 per cent) 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.
Brioni Maker, Diabetes UK’s Eastern Improving Care Manager, 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.”
Roberta Brittain (pictured), 80, has lived with Type 1 diabetes for 70 years and has managed her condition very well by following a healthy diet and exercising.
“While I have managed my diabetes well and not let it stop me doing anything, as I get older there are aspects which start to worry me,” explained Roberta, who lives in Watford.
“I’m very worried about going into hospital or potentially having to go into a care home in years to come. I’m coeliac as well, so my diet is very important and in my experience staff just don’t have the time or knowledge to deal with it properly.
“The thought of having to hand over my day-to-day care to someone is very worrying to me. I have always taken my care very seriously and made sure I understand what is going on and ask doctors and nurses questions so I’m clear and prepared.”
To find out more and for a copy of the report go to www.diabetes.org.uk/future-diabetes-news.