UK Study Finds 24,000 Diabetes Deaths per Year ‘Could be Avoided'

According to a recent report from the NHS Information Centre, roughly 24,000 diabetes-related deaths that occur each year can be prevented by better management of the condition on the parts of both patients and doctors.

According to a recent report from the NHS Information Centre, roughly 24,000 diabetes-related deaths that occur each year can be prevented by better management of the condition on the parts of both patients and doctors. The majority of the deaths, the report continued, could be avoided primarily through basic health checks, a good diet, and regular medication.

In response to the findings of the review, the Department of Health in England reported that it was clear there were alarming disparities in patient care, as seen through this unacceptable death toll.

The researchers involved in the study collected and compared data on diabetics in England with death records, finding that roughly 70,000-75,000 diabetic patients die each year in the UK. The researchers projected that a third of them were dying from causes that were preventable, as their conditions were managed poorly.

The study also found that the risk of dying in comparison to the general population was 2.6 times higher in patients with type 1 diabetes, but the risk was increased further in patients with type 2 diabetes, who had a risk 1.6 times higher than type 1 patients.

The risk of death in younger age groups, however, was even worse. Males between 15 and 34 with Type 1 diabetes had a risk of death that was four times higher than males of the same age without diabetes, and in diabetic females of the same age group, the risk of death was elevated to nine times more likely than women of the same age group in the general population.

"Many of these deaths could be prevented," said Dr Bob Young, diabetologist and spokesman for the National Diabetes Information Service.

National Diabetes Information Service reminded doctors as well as government officials of a well known fact: diabetes is on the rise. Thus, if nothing is done to curb this dangerous trend, it is unavoidable that the number of deaths will increase in coming years.

Diabetes UK described the figures as alarming. "We know that half of people with Type 2 and more than two thirds of people with Type 1 diabetes are not receiving the care they need to stay healthy," said Barbara Young, Diabetes UK chief executive. "It is imperative we take action now to stop even more lives being needlessly cut short. We will be holding the NHS to account wherever it fails to deliver high-quality care."

Care services Minister Paul Burstow reported his expectations of change after the findings of this review were made public. "I expect the NHS to learn from the best. It's not rocket science—integrated health care can help people manage their diabetes, and stay well and out of hospital."