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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
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
"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
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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