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Managing Diabetes Q2 2022

Educate today to protect tomorrow

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Professor Andrew Boulton

President, International Diabetes Federation

One in nine adults will be living with diabetes by 2030. Healthcare professionals and people affected must be equipped with the knowledge to understand and manage the condition.

Diabetes represents a significant challenge to global health and development. It is responsible for almost seven million deaths per year, according to latest figures from the International Diabetes Federation (IDF). Evidence indicates that the number of people affected globally has passed the half a billion mark (537 million) and shows no sign of declining, with the number expected to exceed 640 million by 2030.

Unsurprisingly, healthcare systems are struggling to keep up with these growing numbers. During the pandemic, many people with diabetes have missed appointments and lost out on opportunities to check for complications or adjust treatment regimes. In the UK alone, one in six people with diabetes have not had contact with a healthcare professional since the start of the pandemic.

The majority of diabetes care is self-care

Diabetes is a complex, lifelong condition that demands multiple and frequent decisions about such things as food choices, physical activity, monitoring blood sugar levels and taking medication. Furthermore, diabetes can change over the course of life and need significant adjustments. However, people with diabetes spend less than three hours per year with a healthcare professional. This means they self-manage their condition more than 99.9% of the time.

With consultation time so limited, healthcare professionals need to optimise the time they spend with patients. People living with diabetes need to ensure best self-care practices. Both need access to the best possible training and education.

In the UK alone, one in six people with diabetes have not had contact with a healthcare professional since the start of the pandemic.

Building capacity to provide care

Primary care providers are at the heart of the diabetes response. They need the knowledge, time and tools to not only detect diabetes and refer those concerned to a specialist, but also help those in their care manage their condition and navigate the healthcare system. They must also be able to provide the best available care, at the earliest opportunity, to delay or prevent diabetes complications.

Providing ongoing diabetes education

Now, more than ever, primary healthcare providers need access to ongoing training to provide the best possible care for people with diabetes. People living with diabetes require reliable, easy-to-acquire information to support their self-care. We need to educate today to protect tomorrow.

IDF is committed to facilitating ongoing education for healthcare professionals and people living with diabetes. Free educational resources are available to support training for healthcare professionals and to help people with diabetes understand their condition.

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