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'More help needed' for young diabetics

02 February 2016 09:34

Many young diabetics are missing important tests and check ups

Many young diabetics are missing important tests and check ups

Younger people with diabetes need better access to healthcare services to help them manage their condition, claims a charity.

The National Diabetes Audit for 2014/15 recently revealed a large number of people under the age of 40 with diabetes are not receiving the best possible care, with many missing important tests and check-ups.

Diabetes UK says the findings are "deeply worrying", calling for urgent action to address the matter.

Care concerns

The audit, which compiles data from 1.9 million diabetics in England and Wales, shows just a quarter of under 40s with Type 1 diabetes and two fifths with Type 2 diabetes are receiving exemplary care.

Only 27.3% with Type 1 diabetes and 40.8% with Type 2 diabetes receive all eight tests and check ups that are recommended by health officials.

The annual tests include checks on kidneys, feet, blood glucose levels, cholesterol, blood pressure and weight, which Diabetes UK claims are "vital" to prevent people with the condition from suffering devastating complications such as amputation, kidney failure and heart disease.

People can minimise their risk of future health problems by taking their insulin and other medicines, which can be covered by diabetes travel insurance should diabetics lose or damage them on their travels.

Losing weight can also help, as can eating a healthy, balanced diet.

Regional variations

Chris Askew, chief executive of Diabetes UK, says the findings mirror the patterns observed in previous years. He wants to see urgent action to ensure young people are given the best possible chances of good health in the future and do not continue to be left behind.

Commissioners need to look at ways of fitting checks around the busy lives of the younger generation, he adds.

The audit data, from the Health and Social Care Information Centre, also reveals wide regional variations in the levels of care received by patients.

Just 24.8% of people were receiving all eight checks in some parts of England and Wales, compared with 80.6% of patients in other areas.