As the prevalence of type 2 diabetes continues to rise significantly, with over 125,000 new cases diagnosed a year, new survey results show that those affected are now realising the wider implications of the condition and fearing its associated complications.
While people increasingly recognise that the condition is strongly linked to lifestyle factors such as a poor diet and lack of physical activity, the results highlight that it is not just those already diagnosed who could be affected, but that loved ones could also be impacted by the complications.
According to results from a survey of over 2,500 people diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, conducted by Diabetes UK and sponsored by Merck Sharp and Dohme Limited, it was revealed that:
Eight out of ten people surveyed are either very concerned or fairly concerned about having a heart attack, stroke or nerve damage.
Almost 50% said they were very concerned or fairly concerned about experiencing hypoglycaemia (low blood glucose), with nearly a third having experienced it.
Almost a quarter have experienced sexual dysfunction.
Almost one in ten respondents stated they have suffered eye damage.
Eight per cent of people surveyed have cardiovascular disease.
Dr Marc Evans, Consultant Diabetologist, Cardiff, said: "These results illustrate the everyday challenge facing those living with type 2 diabetes. If not managed correctly, this condition has wide reaching, long-term implications.
"As part of the effort to control blood glucose levels which could potentially reduce the risk of complications, people also face the challenge of ensuring their glucose levels don't drop too low, causing hypoglycaemia.
"This can be a very frightening experience for patients who become unwell, feeling disorientated or dizzy. Unfortunately however, this may go unreported to their GP through fear of the impact it may have on things like insurance, driving licence or their job."
In addition to highlighting the other serious complications, the survey also revealed the issues that impact on everyday life, which may also affect loved ones. Nearly a quarter of the respondents (both men and women) reported having suffered sexual dysfunction.