Let’s Tackle Diabetes Together

Diabetes Trust UK has been set up to help reduce the human cost of diabetes while seeking to fund research that prevents this condition developing.

Individuals
352.1 million

Individuals living with pre-diabetes worldwide and estimated to increase to 587 million by 2045

Money
10 billion

Cost of diabetes and its associated complications to the NHS per year and is set to increase to £16.9 billion by 2035/36

According to an International Diabetes Federation report (International Diabetes Federation IDF, 2017) the number of individuals living with pre-diabetes is approximately 352.1 million worldwide and estimated to increase to 587 million by 2045.

Those individuals living with pre-diabetes are at high risk of developing type 2 diabetes (T2Ds) as well as its associated complications including cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure and kidney disease.

Diabetes and its associated complications costs the NHS £10 billion per year which is set to increase to £16.9 billion by 2035/36. That’s a staggering £46.9 million every single day. These figures exclude inflation and the additional costs related to Covid-19.

Diabetes Trust UK has been set up to help reduce the human cost of diabetes while seeking to fund research that prevents or slows the development of diabetes. Despite the charity being based in the UK, our goal is to support our aims in the UK and abroad.

Our aims are:

1

To support research that adds to collective knowledge and understanding of diabetes.

2

To provide education to those individuals at risk of contracting diabetes. Such groups include older adults and obese individuals.

3

To promote activities that have a proven beneficial effect on health in those at risk of contracting and those with diabetes.

4

To support concepts that promote engagement in physical activity (diabetes prevention).

5

To support individuals suffering from diabetes.

6

To support research working in diabetes, and related fields, effected by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Diabetes is a major cause of blindness, kidney failure, heart attacks, stroke and lower limb amputation. In most cases, when heart disease is being treated, we are actually treating the symptoms of diabetes itself.

An estimated 1.6 million deaths were directly attributed to diabetes in 2016. A further 2.2 million deaths were attributable to high blood glucose in 2012 (World Health Organisation).

Research from Kings college London suggests that the global cost of diabetes will almost double by 2030 to £1.9 trillion. 

Maintaining a healthy diet, exercise and controlling body weight, while reducing body fat are good ways to delay or even prevent the onset of type 2 diabetes. This form of diabetes can be treated, and its medical complications avoided or delayed with these interventions.

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What is diabetes?

Diabetes is a disease that causes blood glucose, often referred to as blood sugar, to rise above its normal levels. In most humans, our blood glucose remains in the range of 4-5 mmol/l of blood. Blood sugar levels, provided they are kept within this tight range, provide a great deal of useful energy for our bodies and are essential to allow our brains to work efficiently.

Insulin is a key hormone produced by the pancreas that transports sugar from the blood to take up storage in our body’s cells. In some cases, little to no insulin is produced and / or the insulin that is produced does not work well on these cells. The consequence of this is that blood sugar climbs above the normal range. Over time, high sugar levels in the blood cause a number of secondary medical complications. For example, diabetes is the leading cause of kidney failure and 8/10 people with diabetes die from heart disease with the cause of death mostly documented as heart disease rather than diabetes. Diabetes is sometimes referred to as a silent disease. It most certainly isn’t and we need to improve our understanding of what causes it and how to best treat it in the research we do. Diabetes has no current cure, yet it can be managed to avoid or delay health issues. There are now a few different types of diabetes, but the main versions are type 1 and type 2 diabetes.

Type 1 diabetes:

Type 1 diabetes is largely caused by the body’s inability to produce insulin so blood glucose levels go unregulated. It is currently thought that type 1 diabetes is caused by the immune system attacking the pancreas and its ability to make insulin. Although more research is needed to fully understand the cause(s) of type 1 diabetes. This form of diabetes is often referred to as early onset, given it develops in children and young adults, although it sometimes presents later in life. Daily insulin administration is used to treat this condition.

Type 2 diabetes:

This form of diabetes is sometimes referred to as late onset diabetes and is linked with obesity and ageing. The cause of type 2 diabetes is a hotly debated research topic. Yet what is clear is at some point the body stops using the available insulin well, then there is a reduction in the insulin produced and blood sugar levels rise resulting in the increased development of heart disease, kidney failure and strokes. This is the most common form of diabetes, accounting for 90% of all cases.