Diabetes UK: Majority of People Unaware of Potential Consequences of Type 2 Diabetes

23 Sep 2013 --- Less than a third of people realise that Type 2 diabetes can lead to serious health complications such as amputation, heart attack, blindness and stroke, according to a new survey commissioned by Diabetes UK ahead of today's launch of a £2 million national awareness campaign to encourage people to have their risk of Type 2 diabetes assessed.

Just 30 per cent of the 1,000 people who took part in the ICM Research survey were aware that people with Type 2 diabetes are more likely to go blind, while awareness that heart attacks (15 per cent), amputation (28 per cent) and stroke (seven per cent) are complications of diabetes was even lower. And just 13 per cent of people knew that the condition increases risk of death, despite the fact that people with Type 2 diabetes are 36 per cent more likely to die in any given year than someone their age who does not have the condition.

We are concerned that, although up to 80 per cent of Type 2 cases could be prevented through lifestyle changes, unless people understand the seriousness of the condition, they are unlikely to see the need to find out their own risk or make the lifestyle changes that can help prevent it. This is why we have today launched the UK's biggest-ever diabetes advertising campaign to highlight its possible consequences, including the devastating impact it can have on families.

The £2 million advertising campaign, which will include on-street, radio, transport and digital advertising, is funded as part of Diabetes UK's National Charity Partnership with Tesco, which aims to raise £10 million to help those affected by or are at risk of diabetes.

The advertising campaign aims to raise awareness of the risk factors – being overweight; having a waist of over 94cm (37 inches) if you are a man or 80cm (31.5 inches) for women (or 89cm/35 inches for South Asian men); having a close relative with diabetes; or being over 40 (or over 25 for South Asian people).

At the moment, just half (50 per cent) of people can identify being overweight as a risk factor, while only 13 per cent realise that having a family member with diabetes puts people at increased risk. And less than one per cent of people mentioned being South Asian or black as a risk factor.

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