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January 2018

Public ‘dangerously unaware’ of signs of diabetes

The vast majority of British adults have no idea about the warning signs for diabetes, and even those who have the condition themselves underestimate its severity, according to new research from medical negligence specialist solicitors, Hospital Negligence.A survey of more than 700 people found that only just over half (51%) knew that high blood glucose levels indicated diabetes, 26% of people know that age, weight and genetics are all risk factors for Type 2 diabetes, while just 27% of respondents knew that both type 1 and type 2 diabetes are or could be treated with insulin.Awareness of early warning signs of diabetes was mixed.

  • 78% knew that increased thirst is a warning sign
  • 64% knew that increased tiredness was a warning sign
  • 51% knew that high blood glucose levels were a symptom
  • 39% knew that blurred vision was a symptom.
  • 33% knew that cuts/wounds taking longer to heal was a symptom,
  • 30% knew that unexplained weight loss was a symptom.
  • 21% knew that frequent bouts of thrush were a sign
  • 26% believed, incorrectly, that frequent headaches were a sign.

Respondents also underestimated the number of people living with diabetes in the UK by more than a million – the actual figure is 4.5 million. They also underestimated the risks associated with diabetes, such as lower limb amputation.

Nick Young, special medical negligence solicitor at Hospital Negligence, said: ‘Diabetes affects a huge proportion of our population and a massive 68% of people we surveyed know someone with the condition. Despite this, it is surprising to learn just how little knowledge Britons have about the risk factors involved with Type 2 diabetes.

‘The public is dangerously unaware of what to look out for – almost half those we surveyed thought that weight alone was a risk factor, but there are many other elements that determine whether somebody contracts the condition and it is important for the public to be aware of what these are.’