Poll reveals how people with type 2 diabetics think research money should be spent

by Barbara Hewitt on November 2, 2017

Finding a cure for type 2 diabetes and more research into how it can be identified earlier and reversed are what people with the condition want the most, a new survey has found.

The poll by charity Diabetes UK asked those with type 2 diabetes, their carers and health care professionals what they thought should be the most important research priorities.

Type 2 Diabetes

(Yeexin Richelle/Shutterstock.com)

As well as a cure it became clear that they would like to see more studies on how to prevent type 2 diabetes and more innovative ways to help people self-manage and control the disease.

The survey also found that people put a high priority on finding out why type 2 diabetes get progressively worse over time, what is the most effective way to slow or prevent progression, and whether diet and exercise should be used as an alternative to medications or alongside them.

Scientists and research funders usually make decisions around what to research but Diabetes UK said it is committed to giving people with diabetes a louder voice and to making research it funds as relevant as possible to them.

According to Dr Elizabeth Robertson, director of research at Diabetes UK, by knowing what matters most to people living with or treating type 2 diabetes it allows the charity to drive research forward and direct funding to where it’s needed most.

‘As the leading charitable funder of diabetes research in the UK, we’ll use the type 2 priorities to help us make decisions around what to fund. We’ll also be encouraging scientists and other research funders to tackle these priorities. Research focused on these issues has the opportunity to significantly improve the lives of people with type 2 diabetes in the future,’ she said.

The research also highlighted that people want to know how stress and anxiety can influence the management of type 2 diabetes and what causes nerve damage in people with type 2 diabetes as well as the role of fats, carbohydrates and proteins in managing the condition.

Katie Gray, a podiatrist who treats people with type 2 diabetes, explained that her experience as a healthcare professional has made her realise that more research is needed to help understand diabetes, its complications, and how to best support patients.

‘I wanted to get involved as I thought that research judged as a priority by those on the front line of type 2 diabetes could have great value,’ she added.

Type 2 diabetic John Turner took part in the poll as he wanted to make sure the opinions of people with the disease count and to help scientists focus on the important issues. ‘I left the process feeling empowered, confident in the future of research and full of hope,’ he said.

There are currently 4.5 million people in the UK with diabetes and around 90% of these have type 2 with around 12 million more at an increased risk of developing the condition.

However, figures show that the amount spent on research into diabetes lags behind other major health conditions, such as cancer and cardiovascular disease. The current UK spend on cancer research is estimated to be around £500 million a year, while £165 million a year is spent on cardiovascular disease and just £60 million on diabetes.

The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of the DiabetesForum.com 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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