DIABETES deaths are surging because of the NHS crisis, a top charity warns.
Delays and backlogs mean less than half of England’s 4.3million patients had all their check-ups last year, Diabetes UK said.
Official figures show diabetes caused 7,125 more deaths than expected in 2022.
The charity said it was a 13 per cent rise from pre-pandemic levels and looks set to continue in 2023.
Chief executive Chris Askew said: “People living with diabetes need the close support and monitoring of health professionals.
“This routine care can be lifesaving and help prevent other serious complications such as amputations, strokes and heart disease.
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“Yet far too many people with diabetes are being left to go it alone, with deeply alarming numbers of checks either missed or delayed.”
There are a record five million people thought to have type 1 or type 2 diabetes in the UK – with 4.3m diagnosed and another 850,000 who don’t know they have it.
Obesity is driving up rates of type 2, which is often triggered by junk food and lazy lifestyles.
Signs and symptoms
TYPE 1 diabetes: blood sugar levels become too high because the body is unable to produce enough insulin to control blood glucose levels.
Type 2 diabetes: blood sugar levels become too high and your insulin function is affected. This is often linked to lifestyle and weight.
Type 2 diabetes symptoms can develop gradually so they may go unnoticed or be difficult to spot.
The NHS says the key signs to watch out for are:
- Peeing more than usual, particularly at night.
- Feeling constantly thirsty.
- Feeling very tired.
- Losing weight without trying.
- Itching around your penis or vagina/repeatedly getting thrush.
- Cuts or wounds taking longer to heal.
- Blurred vision.
Patients should see a nurse for regular blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar checks to keep their condition under control.
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But Diabetes UK said only 47 per cent of patients had the recommended eight appointments last year – meaning nearly two million did not.
It added: “The increase may be linked to the backlog in routine diabetes care caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, when services faced huge disruptions.”
Type 1 diabetes patient Anthony Parker, 44, from Berkshire, said: “Back in January 2020 I was due a check-up, but the appointment was cancelled and moved to March for a telephone appointment.
“This happened again and again, and I didn’t receive any further communication about appointments after that.”
The charity’s Mr Askew added: “We know health professionals are working hard but they are just too stretched to provide the time and support that is required.”
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