Report reveals importance of annual health checks for diabetics

by Barbara Hewitt on July 14, 2017

Annual health checks help people with diabetes live longer, particularly blood sugar levels, cholesterol and blood pressure, according to a new report.

These three key checks should be carried out at least once a year as the death rate for those of all ages who do not have them it higher, the UK’s National Diabetes Audit shows.


It found that the risk of premature death for people with diabetes was more than twice as high for those who had not consistently had these three diabetes health checks in the preceding seven years.

This risk was more than twice as high for all five age groups between 35 to 39 and 70 to 74 and the report also shows that among the 102,000 people with diabetes who died in 2015, some 33.4% died from vascular disease such as coronary heart disease, heart failure and stroke compared with 28.5% among the general population.

The audit also examined the extent to which people with diabetes are at a higher risk of dying when compared to the rest of the population. For people with type 1 diabetes, the additional risk was 127.8% higher. For those with type 2 diabetes, the extra risk was 28.4% higher.

‘Annual health checks and effective support for self-management mean some of the serious complications of diabetes can be avoided or treated early, enabling people with diabetes to live long, healthy lives,’ said Robin Hewings, head of policy at charity Diabetes UK.

‘It is unacceptable that the risk of early death continues to be so much higher for people with diabetes, a condition that is costing the NHS more than £10 billion every year, the majority of which is spent on managing the devastating complications experienced by people with diabetes and their families,’ he explained.

‘Complications such as heart attacks, stroke and kidney failure devastate families, and cost billions yet still people are missing out. Much more needs to be done to ensure people aren’t slipping through the net and missing out on health checks that could literally save their lives,’ he added.

Having the right care is essential for the wellbeing of all people with diabetes and there are 15 vital checks and services that everyone with diabetes should get for free from their healthcare team.

The charity also urges people not to panic and if they are concerned that they are not getting all their annual diabetes health checks they should talk to their GP as soon as possible about getting them booked in.

As well as the three key checks already mentioned, diabetics are also recommended to have annual checks relating to their eyes, feet, kidneys, weight and smoking.

The report also reveals figures for the numbers of people being admitted to hospital for a range of conditions associated with diabetes. A total of 29.2% of all emergency and non-emergency hospital admissions for cardiovascular conditions were for people with diabetes. Vascular outcomes also accounted for a higher proportion of deaths among people with diabetes.

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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