Campaign highlights need to change lifestyle to avoid type 2 diabetes

by Barbara Hewitt on June 18, 2015

There is growing concern that many people do not realize that blindness is one of the major complications of diabetes at a time when people should do what they can to avoid type 2.

New research in the UK, for example, shows that 41% of people do not realize that diabetes can lead to the loss of sight due to blood vessels to the retina becoming blocked.

Researchers fear people do not understand the importance of lifestyle changes in managing & preventing diabetes

This is despite the fact that diabetes is actually the biggest cause of preventable blindness among working age people in the UK and diabetes also puts people at increased risk of developing glaucoma and cataracts.

According to charity Diabetes UK, this is worrying because if people are unaware of the potentially devastating health complications of diabetes, they may not realize how important it is to make the healthy lifestyle changes that can reduce their risk of the disease.

As part of its effort to raise awareness of the seriousness of diabetes, Diabetes UK has launched a hard-hitting new campaign that highlights the devastating impact type 2 diabetes can have on people with the condition, and their loved ones.

It points out that up to 80% of cases of type 2 diabetes could be prevented or delayed, and the charity hopes the campaign will encourage people to take action now to make important lifestyle changes.

The survey also revealed a deeply concerning lack of awareness among the general public of other potentially devastating health complications of diabetes. For example, while some 39% people know that diabetes can lead to heart attacks, 66% are unaware that people with diabetes are at higher risk of stroke.

‘The frightening reality is that within 20 years of diagnosis,  almost two thirds of people with type 2 diabetes will have some problems with their eyes, yet it seems that millions of people do not realize that blindness is a complication of diabetes,’ said Barbara Young, chief executive of Diabetes UK.

‘This survey highlights a worrying lack of awareness of the devastating complications of diabetes among the general public, despite the fact that there are now 3.8 million people living with the condition,’ she explained.

‘We urgently need to tackle this and to help prevent even more people from suffering avoidable health complications and to save the NHS’s finances, as 10% of the entire NHS budget is spent on diabetes and some 80% of this goes on treating complications that could often be prevented,’ she added.

The charity wants people to commit to taking action to reduce their risk of developing type 2 diabetes, or if they have already been diagnosed, to manage their condition better. ‘Only then will we see a future with less diabetes, less heartbreaking complications like blindness and less pressure on the NHS services and finances,’ Young concluded.

The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of the Community and should not be interpreted as medical advice. Please see your doctor before making any changes to your diabetes management plan.

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