Diabetes complications at new high
Rates of stroke and kidney failure in people with diabetes have reached record levels, according to a new analysis.
The conditions - which are complications of diabetes - jumped to their highest level in 2009/10, Diabetes UK said.
More than 16,000 people with diabetes in England are estimated to have had a stroke in 2009/10, based on an incidence rate of 0.69%.
This represents a 57% rise since 2006/07.
More than 8,800 people with diabetes are also thought to have suffered kidney failure in 2009/10, based on an incidence rate of 0.38%. This is 31% higher than in 2006/07.
In the UK, there are currently 2.9 million people diagnosed with Type 1 or 2 diabetes.
An estimated 850,000 more people have Type 2 diabetes - which is linked to unhealthy lifestyles and obesity - but do not know it.
By 2025 it is estimated that five million people will have diabetes.
Barbara Young, chief executive of Diabetes UK, said: "It is shocking that rates of strokes and kidney failure in people with diabetes are now at record levels and yet thousands of people are still not getting the health checks that can help prevent them.
"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."
A survey by the charity showed that 22% of people with diabetes did not report having had their kidney function checked in the previous year, while 7% had not had their blood pressure checked.
It promotes a checklist of 15 checks and services that everyone with diabetes should receive.
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 the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (Nice) and will identify any risk factors for stroke and kidney disease."
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