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Friday, July 15, 2011

Diabetic news update: 20,00 British kids could face blindness or amputation in later life

By Ollie Krend

85% of children and young people with diabetes (20,000 people) face possible amputation and blindness in later life unless urgent measures are taken, according to charity Diabetes UK. They have called for more research on ways to improve diabetes care and management, highlighting the need for an emphasis on children.

The NHS Information Centre has released data gathered as part of the National Diabetes Paediatric Audit, showing that 85.5% of people under 25 with diabetes have perilously high blood glucose levels, increasing their chances of developing severe long-term complications including amputation, blindness, heart disease and stroke.

The data also shows that those in the 12-24 age bracket account for the majority of people with dangerous blood glucose levels, and that just 4% of this age group (12,204 people) received the recommended 8 basic annual health checks, which include examinations of feet and eyes.

"Urgent action" is required in order to improve the standard of diabetes management and care for children and young people, according to Diabetes UK. They have described teenagers in particular as being "lost in the system". Healthcare professionals and researchers have been encouraged by the charity to submit research proposals which address the need to promote patient engagement. They also want to see more projects focused on improving glucose control. It warned that if progress isn't made in these areas, a generation will be confronted with "a future of devastating health complications".

Dr Tabitha Randell (Consultant in Paediatric Endocrinology and Diabetes at Nottingham Children's Hospital) has also acknowledged how teenagers are especially vulnerable, pointing out that they have to cope with hormones, as well as balancing their hunger for independence and desire to fit in with the need to manage their condition. Dr Randell restated the need for the development of strategies that will improve the levels at which young people are engaging with healthcare services, and stressed the need for families to offer plenty of support.

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