13/07/2017 00:01 BST

Diabetes Patients Who Avoid Annual Health Checks Could Double Risk Of Early Death

'We need to make sure the message gets through to everyone living with diabetes.'

People who skip their annual diabetes checks could be doubling their risk of an early death, according to NHS Digital data

Diabetes patients are now being urged to make sure they are having the potentially life-saving annual health checks.

In response to the report, Diabetes UK said more needs to be done to ensure people with the condition don’t slip through the net.

The charity added that tackling diabetes must remain a top priority for the government and healthcare providers.

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A national diabetes audit looked at the link between three of the key annual diabetes health checks recommended by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) and mortality rates.

It found the risk of premature death for people with diabetes was more than twice as high for those who had not consistently had their blood glucose, cholesterol and blood pressure checked in the previous seven years.

The report also highlighted that the relative risk of death for people with diabetes is higher than for the general population, particularly in people of working age.

It also revealed that worryingly large numbers of people are still not getting all the checks they need.

For people with Type 1 diabetes, the risk of death was 127.8% higher than the wider population, while for those with Type 2 diabetes it was 28.4%.

Robin Hewings, head of policy at Diabetes UK, said: “Annual health checks and effective support for self-management mean some of the serious complications of diabetes can be avoided or treated early, enabling people with diabetes to live long, healthy lives. 

“It is unacceptable that the risk of early death continues to be so much higher for people with diabetes, a condition that is costing the NHS more than £10 billion every year, the majority of which is spent on managing the devastating complications experienced by people with diabetes and their families.”

People with diabetes are at increased risk of complications including kidney disease and cardiovascular problems, which are hugely expensive to treat.

The recommended annual health checks include measuring blood pressure, cholesterol and a kidney function test. By testing these, problems can be identified and treated before they become too serious. 

“Complications such as heart attacks, stroke and kidney failure devastate families, and cost billions – yet still people are missing out,” Hewings continued.

“Much more needs to be done to ensure people aren’t slipping through the net and missing out on health checks that could literally save their lives.

“Tackling diabetes must remain a top priority for government and healthcare providers. Everyone with diabetes should have access to these tests no matter where they live, whatever their age or type of diabetes.

“It’s essential that GPs continue to receive incentives to provide them and reach out to everyone that needs them – we need to make sure the message gets through to everyone living with diabetes.”