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Stroke and kidney failure rates in diabetics hit new high

24,800 diabetics had a stroke or kidney failure in 2009-10

Adrian O'Dowd

Monday, 26 March 2012

The rate of people with diabetes in England having a stroke or kidney failure has reached a new high, claims charity Diabetes UK.

The charity has carried out an analysis, published today, which found that for stroke and kidney failure – both complications of diabetes – the rates among people registered in the National Diabetes Audit (NDA) were higher in 2009-10 than in any year since the NDA began recording them in 2003.

Assuming a rate of 0.69% among people in the NDA, the charity calculated that more than 16,000 people with diabetes had a stroke in 2009-10 in England, which is a 57% rise since 2006-07.

For kidney failure, the rate was 0.38% of people with diabetes – 31% higher than in 2006-07. The charity said if the NDA rate were reflected across the country, this would mean more than 8,800 people with diabetes had kidney failure in 2009-10.

In the UK, there are currently 2.9 million people diagnosed with diabetes and an estimated 850,000 people have Type 2 diabetes, but are unaware of it. By 2025 it is estimated that five million people will have diabetes.

The charity said it was highlighting the rise in stroke and kidney failure to underline the importance of people with diabetes having their blood pressure and kidney function checked annually.

A recent survey by the charity showed that 22% of people with diabetes were unaware of having had their kidney function checked in the previous year, while 7% had not had their blood pressure checked.

It wants every person with diabetes to have these checks, as well as all the checks and services as set out in its 15 Healthcare Essentials.

Barbara Young, chief executive of Diabetes UK, said: “These figures are a reminder that all people with diabetes should have these checks every year, as this is the simplest and most effective way of reducing risk of complications such as stroke and kidney failure. We also need to get the message across to people with diabetes that they should demand these checks if they are not already getting them.

“Stroke and kidney failure are complications that hugely reduce quality of life for many people with diabetes, while the cost of treatment far exceeds that of the simple checks that can help prevent them developing in the first place.

“These appalling figures remind us once again of the lack of progress in this area and highlight the importance of applying pressure on the government and the NHS to give everyone with diabetes the basic checks that can help bring the rise in potentially preventable complications to an end.”

Care services minister Paul Burstow said: “Poor and inefficient diabetes care is bad for patients, bad for the NHS and is completely unacceptable. This audit shows that the local NHS must act to ensure that diabetics are getting their health checks every year. These screening checks are recommended by NICE and will identify any risk factors for stroke and kidney disease.”

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