According to a new survey, diabetes is not taken seriously by the public in the United Kingdom. Although it is a serious condition with devastating complications, only a small proportion of the UK population is aware of its grave consequences.
The survey conducted by Walnut Unlimited, assessed 1000 individuals with and without a link to diabetes to understand the extent of lack of diabetes awareness. The findings showed that only 2% of respondents were aware of stroke as a complication of diabetes, 4% were aware of kidney damage and 6% of heart disease. Only a quarter of respondents were aware that amputation and sight loss was linked to diabetes. Only 2% and 4% were aware of a shorter life span and early mortality, respectively, associated with diabetes, and none were aware of the pregnancy complications of diabetes.
Diabetes has become a significant health burden in the United Kingdom, now affecting more individuals than any other serious health condition including dementia and cancer. 3.7 million individuals are currently living in the United Kingdom diagnosed with diabetes, and an additional 12.3 million are at increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Diabetes complications account for more than 8700 amputations and more than 1600 cases of vision impairment every year.
The key to prevention or delay of diabetes complications is early diagnosis along with support and education of patients for managing their condition. Emphasising the importance of support from health care teams, Chris Askew, Chief Executive of Diabetes UK said, "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.”