Do you take diabetes seriously?

You may already know that diabetes is a growing health problem in the UK. But do you realise how serious it can be? According to a survey by leading health charity Diabetes UK, few people are aware of how life-changing the condition can be.

The survey reveals only one in four people know diabetes can cause amputation and sight loss, despite the fact that these are common complications of the condition. Out of the 1,000 people who took part, none knew that diabetes could cause problems in pregnancy.

Meanwhile only two per cent correctly identified that stroke is a complication of diabetes, while four per cent recognised kidney damage as a complication and six per cent identified heart disease.

Yet the charity says figures show the following:

  • There are 169 amputations each week in the UK because of diabetes, which means every hour someone loses a leg, toe or foot.
  • More than 1,600 people each year have their sight seriously affected by diabetes (that’s around 30 people a week).
  • The number of people who have diagnosed diabetes in the UK is 3.7 million (90 per cent of these have type 2 diabetes).
  • Around 12.3 million people are at increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

“Losing a limb, your eyesight or having a stroke is devastating and often life changing,” says Chris Askew, Diabetes UK chief executive.

“Many complications can be prevented or delayed, so it’s incredibly important that people with diabetes are vigilant and contact their GP as soon as possible if they have any concerns.”

Chronic and acute

There are two types of diabetes complications – chronic and acute.

Chronic These complications are long-term problems that can develop gradually and become serious if they go untreated.

Chronic complications include:

  • Eye problems
  • Foot problems
  • Heart attack and stroke
  • Kidney problems
  • Nerve damage

* Related conditions (such as cancer)

Acute These can happen at any time and may also lead to other complications”

  • Hypos (when your blood sugar level becomes too low)
  • Hypers (when your blood sugar level becomes too high)
  • Diabetic ketoacidosis
  • Hyperosmolar hyperglycaemic state

The latter two acute complications are life-threatening emergencies.

To find out more about diabetes as well as how to manage the condition effectively enough to prevent or slow down the development of complications, have a word with your local Careway pharmacist or speak to your GP. Find your nearest Careway pharmacy by using our Pharmacy Finder.

There’s also lots of useful information on Diabetes UK’s website.