COVID-19: what could it mean for the diabetic population?

Steve How and Oli Hudson, of Wilmington Healthcare, assess the scale of the diabetes crisis and how coronavirus might impact on it.

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The spotlight is firmly fixed on COVID-19 as countries battle to contain it; yet lurking in the shadows another devastating global pandemic – diabetes –claims more lives annually in the UK, than those currently predicted for coronavirus.

On March 28, Stephen Powis, National Medical Director of NHS England, said that the UK would have done "very well" if there were fewer than 20,000 coronavirus deaths.

However, figures show that nearly 33,000 people died as a result of diabetes in England and Wales alone in 2017* and death rates among diabetes patients might rise even higher than currently predicted, as COVID-19 can pose serious risks to them.

This article will explore the scale of the diabetes problem and how COVID-19 might impact on it. It will also look at the NHS’s strategy for diabetes care and how services are changing as a result of COVID-19.

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*National Diabetes Audit, 2017-18 Report 2a: Complications and Mortality (complications of diabetes) England and Wales.

Steve How is Programme Director and Oli Hudson is Content Director, both at Wilmington Healthcare.

OnMedica

Editorial team, Wilmington Healthcare

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