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[IP] Survey Reveals Shortfalls in Diabetes Education

LONDON (Reuters) - Diabetics are not being given enough information on how to 
manage their illness and avoid long-term and potentially fatal complications, 
medical experts said on Friday. 
A survey by the International Diabetes Foundation of 750 diabetics in five 
European countries showed that nearly half had never been advised to check 
their blood glucose levels and nearly one third admitted they often forgot to 
do so.

Diabetics do not metabolize glucose efficiently because of a deficiency or 
lack of insulin. It their blood sugar levels are too low they can go into a 

If the levels are too high it can cause blindness, heart disease, stroke, 
kidney problems and nerve damage that can lead to amputations.

"It needs to be brought home to them more clearly to keep their blood glucose 
levels under control because it can reduce serious long-term complications," 
Bill Hartnett, of Diabetes UK, said in a telephone interview.

Diabetics should regularly test their blood glucose levels and consult their 
doctors if the levels are not in the optimum range, he said.

According to the survey, nearly a quarter of people with diabetes in Britain 
have heart disease, over a third have high blood pressure and one in four have 
sight problems.

"Education can save lives. People need to know more about effectively managing 
their diabetes and how it can reduce the risk of potential long-term effects 
such as blindness and heart disease," Paul Street, the chief executive of 
Diabetes UK, said in a statement.

"The emphasis in diabetes care must be on prevention of complications rather 
than letting them develop and then treating them," he said.

An estimated 1.4 million people in Britain suffer from diabetes and about a 
million more have the condition but are not aware of it. Worldwide it affects 
up to 135 million people.

A European study has shown that it costs about 29 billion euros ($30 billion) 
each year, or up to 7.4 of the total healthcare spending in some countries to 
treat diabetics.

Most of the costs, which are equivalent to treating cancer patients, are 
caused by complications from diabetes.

People with Type 1 diabetes produce little or no insulin. The condition can be 
controlled with injections but sufferers face a lifetime of treatment and up 
to four injections a day.

Type 2, or adult onset diabetes, is a milder form of the disease that can be 
treated with diet, exercise and drugs to stimulate the pancreatic secretion of 

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