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UK diabetes risk levels rise

Over 800,000 people with diabetes in the UK are at risk of complications related to the condition due to high blood sugar levels according the National Diabetes Audit 2009-10

Over 800,000 people with diabetes in the UK are at risk of complications related to the condition due to high blood sugar levels according the National Diabetes Audit 2009-10.

With results described as a 'diabetes time bomb' by the NHS Information Centre (NHS IC), an independent source of health and social care information in England, the audit found particular concerns for the younger population with around 300,000 children and younger adults with diabetes living with high risk levels of blood sugar, and 144,000 at dangerously high risk.

Increased blood sugar can lead to several serious complications, including kidney failure, stroke, eye problems and issues related to the foot.

The audit, which contains data from almost two million people with diabetes in England, also ascertained that many people with the condition are still not receiving all the recommended safety checks.

Although figures were up from last year's audit, two thirds of type 1 patients and almost half of type 2 patients still did not receive all nine basic care processes, including blood pressure and foot checks, during the annual period analysed.

The results were of particular concern for the charity Diabetes UK. Chief executive, Dame Barbara Young commented: "This highlights the need for urgent action to ensure that people with diabetes start to receive all the basic care processes, otherwise there will be more amputations, more people going blind, and more cases of kidney failure, heart disease and stroke."

Dr Rowan Hillson, national clinical director for diabetes, emphasised the issue of the younger diabetes population not receiving the recommended check-ups, with the audit showing patients aged 54 and under are less likely to receive all basic care checks required to monitor their condition than the more elderly population.

"These checks are vital to reduce serious but avoidable complications," said Hillson. "All healthcare professionals should follow NICE's [National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence] clear recommendations. There is no excuse for not doing the basics well."

The NHS IC has the National Diabetes Audit 2009-10 available for download.

29th June 2011

From: Healthcare

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