Diabetes: 24,000 Die Unnecessarily Each Year, Report Says
Up to 24,000 people with diabetes are dying unnecessarily every year, according to a new report.
Most deaths could be avoided if they received better NHS care and if their condition was better managed, it said.
The report into death rates, from the National Diabetes Audit for England, found that women with diabetes are nine times more likely to die young than those without the condition.
Among women aged 15 to 34 with diabetes, death rates are up to nine times higher than the average for this age group. And the report also found that two young people of both sexes aged 15 to 34 may be suffering an avoidable death every week.
An estimated 70,000 to 75,000 people with diabetes die in England every year - accounting for about 15% of all deaths.
Most deaths are related to the actual condition - diabetes can cause serious heart and kidney problems, as well as amputation of limbs and loss of eyesight. The report said people are dying too early due to poor management of their condition.
This includes not receiving basic diabetic health checks on the NHS, having unhealthy lifestyles and not taking medication properly or understanding how to take it.
It argues that educating people in managing their condition reduces the risk that they will suffer dangerously high or low blood sugar, which increases the risk of complications but can also lead directly to death.
Audit lead clinician Dr Bob Young, consultant diabetologist and clinical lead for the National Diabetes Information Service, said: "For the first time we have a reliable measure of the huge impact of diabetes on early death. Many of these early deaths could be prevented. The rate of new diabetes is increasing every year.
"So, if there are no changes, the impact of diabetes on national mortality will increase. Doctors, nurses and the NHS working in partnership with people who have diabetes should be able to improve these grim statistics."