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500 diabetics dying each week, many from ‘avoidable’ complications

This article was taken from: https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2018/10/29/500-diabetics-dying-week-many-avoidable-complications/

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Hundreds of diabetes sufferers are dying prematurely every week, NHS figures reveal as experts warn the health service is not doing enough to support patients with the condition.

Avoidable complications such as amputations, sight loss, kidney disease, stroke and heart disease are contributing to around 500 deaths a week, according to the charity Diabetes UK.

The figure comes from analysis of the NHS National Diabetes Audit, which shows deaths have increased roughly 10 per cent over the past three years.

The report found that people between the ages of 35 and 64 living with type 1 diabetes are three to four times more likely to die prematurely than those without the condition.

Meanwhile those in the same age range who have type 2 diabetes are up to two times more likely to die prematurely.

The most common complications of diabetes which can lead to early death are stroke and cardiovascular disease.

Every week in the UK, 680 people suffer a stroke as a complication of diabetes, with one in five strokes caused by diabetes.

Diabetes UK said 530 people suffer a diabetes-related heart attack and there are around 2,000 cases of diabetes-related heart failure.

Since 2017, the NHS Diabetes Transformation Fund has invested more than £80 million across England to improve the care people with diabetes receive.

Diabetes UK is now calling on NHS England to continue its action to improve the quality of local diabetes services beyond 2019, to curb the growing numbers of people dying prematurely because of diabetes.

The charity’s chief executive, Chris Askew, said: “Five hundred preventable, premature deaths each week is a harrowing statistic that highlights how serious diabetes can be.

“It’s vital that this seriousness is recognised, and that the NHS continues to fund improvements to diabetes care beyond 2019, as it has been doing through the Diabetes Transformation Fund.

“The importance of helping people with diabetes avoid preventable complications, which can often lead to death, cannot be overstated.

People with type 1 diabetes do not produce insulin as a result of the immune system incorrectly targeting insulin-producing cells in the pancreas, whereas with type 2 diabetes, which affects the majority of patients, insulin is produced but the body loses its ability to respond to it.

Both forms can lead to chronically high blood sugar levels that increase the risk of complications.

“If we want to reduce the number of people with diabetes dying early and unnecessarily the investment and work started in 2017 needs to be continued.

“Progress is being made and shouldn’t stop now, to ensure the benefits of transformation are fully realised.”