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What people with diabetes want for the future

men talking diabetes change
men talking diabetes change

Chris Askew

Chief Executive of Diabetes UK

Diabetes affects more than 4.5 million people in the UK, more than any other serious health condition. The number of people living with diabetes is rising fast and one person is diagnosed every two minutes.

Every day, around 700 people are diagnosed with diabetes in the UK. A diagnosis is devastating as diabetes can affect all aspects of someone’s life. It can also lead to serious complications including amputations, kidney disease and strokes.

Diabetes UK is committed to making the lives of people with diabetes easier, and this year we heard from over 9,000 people living with, or affected by, diabetes to find out what it is like to live with the condition, and their hopes and fears for the future.

It was one of the biggest engagement initiatives we have ever undertaken, and we heard from people with different forms of diabetes, from different backgrounds and from all parts of the UK. What they told us forms the basis of our new Future of Diabetes report, which we’re launching today at events across the UK.”

“We can feel isolated and misunderstood”

They told us that living with diabetes can be tough. There is never a day off. Diabetes affects what someone can eat, their ability to exercise, and their ability to simply do the things they enjoy.

Life can be more difficult because of a lack of understanding about diabetes at work or school.

We also know the huge toll the condition can take on their emotional wellbeing.

We know life for people with diabetes can be made more difficult because of a lack of understanding about diabetes at work, at school and by family and friends. This, too, can make people feel isolated, misunderstood and stigmatised. People with the condition can feel alone and unsupported, and sometimes – simply because of where they live in the UK – people are not able to access technologies designed to make their lives that bit more straightforward.

“Change needs to happen, and quickly”

The people we heard from identified a number of ways to make the lives of people with the condition easier now and in the future:

  • More support for emotional and psychological health
  • Better access to healthcare professionals who understand diabetes
  • Better access to technology and treatments
  • Widely available information and education
  • More support and understanding at work and school
  • Hope for the future, through diabetes research and action to prevent Type 2 diabetes 

To build a better future for people living with diabetes we must listen to what they are telling us. Their needs and experiences must be central to the care and support they receive.

Our vision is a world where diabetes can do no harm.

That’s why this World Diabetes Day (14th November 2017), we are calling for action from governments, health services, policy makers, healthcare professionals, and local decision makers to address these key issues and work together to ensure this much-needed change happens.

Our vision is a world where diabetes can do no harm. We will continue to raise awareness and tackle the stigma associated with diabetes, invest in pioneering diabetes research, and directly support people with diabetes, healthcare professionals, and researchers. But we can’t do it alone.

Read more on for the full report and to find out how you can work with us to build a better future for people with diabetes.

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