SYMPTOMS of the UK’s silent and largely preventable killer are going unchecked, reveals new research.
The research found that 59.1m (89%) UK adults are unaware of the potential symptoms of Type 2 diabetes, despite timely diagnosis being the most important factor in managing this largely preventable disease.
The study of 2,000 UK adults, commissioned by Bluecrest Health Screening, and published in The UK Health Gap Report, questioned respondents about their awareness of Type 2 diabetes. The research revealed that only 1 in 3 UK adults make conscious decisions about their health and lifestyle to reduce the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.
Just 19% of respondents surveyed said they knew all the signs and symptoms of diabetes look out for, such as; increased thirst, unexplained weight loss, headaches, fatigue and the slow healing of cuts and wounds.
This is despite the fact that the consequences of the disease being left untreated can be life threatening. Every week diabetes leads to 169 amputations, 680 strokes, 530 heart attacks and 2,000 cases of heart failure.
17% said they were unaware of what can increase an individual’s risk of developing the disease. Increasing risk factors include; high alcohol intake, lack of exercise, high blood pressure, unhealthy eating, smoking, age and family history.
Worryingly, the study highlighted that tests and screening rates for this preventable and common silent killer were shockingly low – 81% of respondents said they have never been tested by a GP for signs of type 2 diabetes, with the majority (61%) of those aged 65 and over having never been tested.
A larger number 90% stated that they have never been screened to assess their level of risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.
Dr Josh Cullimore, GP advisor at Bluecrest Health Screening comments: “It’s evident from the study that awareness and understanding around the largely preventable Type 2 diabetes is worryingly low. This lack of understanding may contribute to the 500 people who die prematurely in the UK every week due to the disease*.
“There are around 4.7 million people currently diagnosed with diabetes in the UK** – with an estimated further 1 million UK adults living with the disease, who are yet to be diagnosed. To put this into perspective the number of people living with this is 13 times as many in the UK currently living with cancer.
“It’s important that people are properly aware of the potential causes and symptoms of Type 2 diabetes, and how their diet or lifestyle choices can potentially increase their risk of developing this disease.”
Peter Blencowe, managing director at Bluecrest Health Screening continues: “There’s an education piece to be done surrounding the risks of UK adults developing such serious diseases, both genetic and lifestyle-related.
“By understanding the lifestyle choices that can increase our risk of developing type 2 diabetes, looking after ourselves generally and proactively managing our health, we can hopefully move towards reducing the number of premature deaths that take place every day in the UK.”
Bluecrest Health Screening provides affordable and convenient health screenings to both private individuals and corporates across the UK and Ireland. It aims to help people take control of their health by empowering consumers with clear knowledge about their current health status.
For further information about Bluecrest Health Screening and its services, please visit www.bluecrestscreening.com.