Tracey joined volunteers from the International Diabetes Federation and staff from Novo Nordisk and Roche, leaders in diabetes care, to raise awareness of the increasing prevalence of diabetes in the UK on Tuesday 25th March.
Diabetes, in particular type 2 diabetes, is a significant and growing health issue, affecting over 382 million people worldwide. The IDF believes that, unless action is taken, this could rise to 592 million within by 20351. The IDF and its member organisations – which include Diabetes UK – are working to improve the political and public awareness of diabetes as a major disease and the critical interventions that are necessary to counter it and to ensure that people with diabetes receive the high quality treatment they need to avoid unnecessary complications.
Around 3.2 million people have been diagnosed with diabetes in the UK2, but it is estimated that a further 850,000 people may be living with the condition without realising it3. This means that around 1 in 16 people in the UK are living with the disease – or approximately 6,230 people in the average constituency.4 If diagnosed early, diabetes can be actively managed to help mitigate the serious consequences of the disease.
Tracey had a diabetes test and met with healthcare professionals at a special event in Westminster to find out more about the disease. The event was held with the support of healthcare companies Novo Nordisk and Roche.
Tracey said: “With diabetes rates increasing across the country and around the world, I am pleased to support the International Diabetes Federation in raising awareness of the signs and symptoms of diabetes and complications such as cardiovascular disease, blindness, amputation and hypoglyceamia. Getting tested takes only a few minutes and could save you years of illness. If you are concerned about diabetes, talk to your GP or pharmacist about having a blood glucose test, as I did yesterday.”
Good diabetes care can help improve the health outcomes and the quality of life for people with the disease. To support this it is essential that people with diabetes have access to the right treatments. However, even for treatments approved by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) for use in the NHS there are considerable variations in how these are being prescribed to patients across England5. Beyond the human cost of diabetes, there is a significant financial burden on the NHS and wider society as the result of preventable complications. It was estimated in 2011, that £9 billion per year from the NHS budget is spent on diabetes6. Factoring in loss of working days through hypoglycaemia, early death and informal care costs, the cost of the condition to the UK is projected to rise from £23.7 billion to £39.8 billion by 20357 unless action is taken now to address the impact of diabetes.
Sir Michael Hirst, President of the International Diabetes Federation said: “Diabetes is one of the most pressing health issues in the world today and we are pleased to have the support of MPs like Tracey in raising awareness of the condition. Early detection of diabetes is essential in preventing complications like stroke and blindness. We hope that this event will help further raise awareness of the condition in the UK.”
Peter Meeus, Managing Director of Novo Nordisk said, “At Novo Nordisk we are committed to improving diabetes care for all people with diabetes and are proud to be able to support an awareness raising day such as this. People with diabetes deserve the highest quality of care available for their own well-being and to prevent damaging complications. They can only receive this if they are given access to the best and most appropriate treatments available.”
Brett Lewis , Director of Diabetes Care at Roche UK and Ireland, said, “At Roche, we believe all people with Diabetes deserve the best healthcare. Our purpose is to support people at every step of their journey with diabetes, helping them to live an unrestricted life. As a market leader in the field of blood glucose monitoring systems, Roche is pleased to be involved in making this awareness raising day a reality. Having a blood glucose test is quick and easy and could help identity those at risk of developing diabetes and reduce long-term complications. We hope that MPs will continue to raise awareness of the importance of getting tested with their constituents and in Parliament.”