Less than a third of people are aware of the consequences of type 2 diabetes.
Type 2 diabetes can lead to serious complications such as amputation, heart attack, blindness and stroke.
But just 30% of 1,000 people who took put in a survey for Diabetes UK were aware that people with type 2 diabetes are more likely to go blind, while awareness that heart attacks (15%), amputation 28%) and stroke (7%) was even lower.
Only 13% of people knew that the condition increases risk of death, despite the fact that people with type 2 diabetes are 36% more likely to die in any given year than someone who does not have the condition.
Diabetes UK has launched a £2 million advertising campaign with the hope of raising £10 million to help those affected by diabetes, including those who are at risk.
The campaign aims to raise awareness of the risk factors of the condition:
- Being overweight
- Having a waist of over 37 inches (male) 31.5 inches (female) or 35 (South Asian men)
- Having a close relative with diabetes
- Being over 40 (or over 25 for black and South Asian people)
Just half of people can identify being overweight as a risk factor, the survey revealed.
And less than 1% knew that being South Asian or black is a risk factor.
The campaign will urge people to have their risk assessed if any of these risk factors apply to them, so they can find out whether they are one of the estimated 7 million people in the UK who is at high risk.
Barbara Young, chief executive of Diabetes UK, said: “You only have to spend five minutes talking to someone who has lost their sight or has lost a leg as a result of type 2 diabetes to realise the devastating impact the condition can have.
“But this survey makes it clear that most people do not understand the potential consequences of developing it and I worry that until we finally lay to rest the myth that type 2 diabetes is a mild condition, it will continue to be seen as something that is not worth being concerned about.”