Most people diagnosed with diabetes already have complications

Seven out of ten people with diabetes discovered they had the condition after developing complications associated with it, according to international research published today.

The study also found that 94% of people with diabetes who were surveyed had experienced at least one complication.

The findings by the International Diabetes Federation are published as World Diabetes Day is marked today (14 November).

The most common complications experienced among survey respondents were eye (46%), foot (38%), and oral health (37%) problems.

More than half (55%) of respondents said they worry most days about developing diabetes-related complications, but when asked about preventing their complications, four out of five respondents said they could have done more, while 62% said their healthcare provider could have done more.

Federation President Professor Akhtar Hussain said: “More needs to be done to improve diabetes awareness and provide education to support the early detection and management of complications. What we have learned offers a stark reminder that diabetes often goes undetected until one or more complications are present.

“We know that, with the right information and care, people living with diabetes can greatly reduce their risk of complications. Furthermore, there are steps that people at risk of type 2 diabetes can take to delay or prevent the onset of the condition altogether. It is key to know your level of risk, know what you should be looking for and know how to respond.”

Because type 2 diabetes, which accounts for over 90% of all diabetes, often develops silently, with symptoms that go unnoticed, more than 50% people in some countries are not diagnosed and, as the research suggests, complications are already present, the campaigners say.

Professor Hussain added: “For those without access to the right support, diabetes and its complications can seriously impact day-to-day life and even become life-threatening. That is why the International Diabetes Federation is committed to improving awareness of how best to manage the condition, helping people with diabetes to understand their risk and improving access to the best available care.

“Healthcare professionals must be equipped with the knowledge and resources to diagnose diabetes early and provide appropriate support.”

The survey was conducted among people living with diabetes across Africa, Asia, Europe and South America to understand the level of awareness and impact of diabetes-related complications.

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