Undiagnosed diabetes puts half a million lives at risk in UK

30 July 2008

Health charity Diabetes UK has warned that more than half a million people in the UK may face a future of ill health because they have Type 2 diabetes but don't know it.

Diabetes is a serious condition which can lead to heart disease, blindness, amputation, kidney failure and shorter life expectancy. However, early diagnosis and good management of the condition can significantly reduce the risk of diabetic complications.

Douglas Smallwood, Chief Executive of Diabetes UK said, "It is shocking that more than half a million people are going about their daily lives unaware they have a condition that puts them at greater risk of devastating complications.

"Some people can go undiagnosed for up to 12 years and around half of people with Type 2 diabetes are already showing signs of complications when they are diagnosed, due to their diagnosis being later than it should be.

"This is a tragedy as diabetes is a manageable condition and many people live full and healthy lives. The sooner people are diagnosed, the sooner they can start treating their condition and taking control of their lives."

Diabetes UK has launched 'Measure Up', its outdoor advertising campaign which aims to help find the undiagnosed. The Measure Up bill boards and posters that can be seen across the country during this summer aim to raise awareness of the risk factors of Type 2 diabetes. The charity is encouraging anyone with at least two risk factors to go to their doctor for a test.

Risk factors of Type 2 diabetes include: having a large waist[1] or being overweight, aged over 40 or over 25 for people of Black or South Asian origin, and a family history of the condition.

The Clear Channel outdoor advertising campaign was the top prize in the Everyclick Charity Challenge, which Diabetes UK won beating over 550 other charities. Everyclick is an online giving platform that allows users to raise money for the charity of their choice through donations and the Everyclick search engine, which donates 50% of its revenue to charity. To date it has helped raise nearly £500,000 for UK charities. Diabetes UK encouraged its staff and supporters to search the Internet using Everyclick during the three-month challenge to be crowned the Everyclick Charity Challenge champions.

To find out if you are at risk of diabetes visit www.diabetes.org.uk


1. At-risk waist measurements are: 37 inches (94cm) or more for men, except those of South Asian origin; 31.5 inches (80cm) or more for all women; 35 inches (90cm) or more for South Asian men.

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