The majority of NHS spending on diabetes is avoidable, says a report in the journal Diabetic Medicine.
It suggests that 80% of the NHS’s £9.8bn annual UK diabetes bill goes on the cost of treating complications. Experts say much of this is preventable with health checks and better education – something the Department of Health says it is tackling. The report also predicts that by 2035, diabetes will cost the NHS £16.8bn, 17% of its entire budget.
There are 3.8 million people living with diabetes in the UK. The study looked at annual direct patient care costs for both types of diabetes, with Type 2 at £8.8bn being far higher than that of Type 1 at £1bn. Both Type 1 diabetes, which tends to appear in childhood, and Type 2 diabetes, often linked to diet, lead to problems controlling the amount of sugar in the blood.
Complications occur when people with diabetes sustain high levels of glucose over a long period. This can lead to increased chances of developing disease-related complications, such as kidney failure, nerve damage, damage to the retina, stroke and cardiovascular disease.
Baroness Barbara Young, from Diabetes UK – one of the charities involved in the Impact Diabetes report – said: “The report shows that without urgent action, the already huge sums of money spent on treating diabetes will rise to unsustainable levels that threaten to bankrupt the NHS.”
“If this rise in diabetes is allowed to continue, as is happening at the moment, it will simply be disastrous for the NHS and wreck NHS budgets. I think we have a car crash coming.”
“But the most shocking part of this report is the finding that almost four-fifths of NHS diabetes spending goes on treating complications that in many cases could have been prevented.”
“That’s hugely wasteful – in human life, in the quality of human life, and in NHS budgets. We need to stop this now and make sure people get the right sort of care early on in their condition.”
Baroness Young speculated that investing in better education and more frequent health checks to reduce the risk of complications could actually be less expensive than the current approach.
Personally I think education is the most important weapon in the battle against diabetes, but also that this could be supplemented by applying taxation to high sugar junk food. This taxation could have a positive impact by making junk foods more expensive than health alternatives and also would help to fund the treatment of the people that continued to choose unhealthy high sugar foods.
I am currently in Brazil, a country that I am certain is also facing a major diabetes epidemic. Why do I say this? Because not only do I have to make it clear when ordering fresh juices etc that I want them without added sugar, but also when I am ordering with my Brazilian colleagues, the waiter recalls the order as I without sugar and one “normal”!!
If you don’t believe a simple diet change can stop diabetes, I highly recommended you watch “Simply Raw” to see it actually reverse diabetes in just 30 days!
Sadly I think I think far too many people are waiting for some miracle cure to be found for their problems, but please remember that life has no remote, so you need to get up and change it yourself!
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