Barely a fifth of people diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes during the last four years have their condition under control, according to a new analysis by Diabetes UK.
The analysis, based on National Diabetes Audit data, shows that just 22.4 per cent of those who have had Type 2 diabetes for up to four years (thought to be around 1 million people) meet recommended levels for blood glucose, cholesterol and blood pressure.
This is a concern because people not meeting the recommended levels are at increased risk of future complications such as kidney failure and amputation. And there is evidence that unless Type 2 diabetes is managed well the body adapts to having high glucose levels which means that the longer this goes on the more difficult it is to get under control.
The Welsh Government’s Together for Health diabetes plan, published last year, has tasked all health boards in Wales with ensuring that they plan and deliver diabetes education courses in line with NICE guidance. Diabetes UK Cymru is now calling on all Health Boards in Wales to ensure that these courses are offered to all people living with Type 2 diabetes within nine months of their diagnosis.
Diabetes UK Cymru has also announced two free educational events about Type 2 diabetes in Wales. The Living with Diabetes Days, funded by Diabetes UK’s National Charity Partnership with Tesco, will give information about how people can better manage their condition. While they are available to everyone with Type 2 diabetes, they are aimed in particular at those who have recently been diagnosed with the condition. The first of these events is being held in Newport in November, with an event in North Wales planned for early 2015. People can register their interest at www.diabetes.org.uk/lwdd or by calling 0345 123 2399.
The Living with Diabetes Days will give people the chance to learn how to maintain a healthy diet and become better able to manage their diabetes; ask health professionals questions and get practical up-to-date information; and meet other people with the condition.
Diabetes UK Cymru’s Director Dai Williams said: “With increasing evidence about the importance of getting Type 2 diabetes under control as quickly as possible, it is extremely worrying that just one in five people diagnosed with the condition in the last four years have it under control.
“This means thousands of people in Wales are at increased risk of developing health complications such as kidney failure and amputation, which have a devastating impact on people’s lives and are fuelling the high death rate in people with the condition.
“Unfortunately, a big part of the reason that so many people with Type 2 are starting off on the wrong path is the lack of available diabetes education. It is unrealistic to expect people to be able to manage their condition well if they are not given information about how to do this and so it is not surprising that so many people do not have it under control. This is why we want the NHS to give every person with diabetes the chance to have this kind of education.
“We also hope that our Living With Diabetes days will give people in Wales the information they need to become more confident in managing their diabetes and so better able to get their condition under control and so give themselves the best possible chance of a long and healthy life. It is a great example of our National Charity Partnership with Tesco delivering real benefits for people with diabetes.”