People with diabetes who understand that the condition is serious can reduce their risk of devastating health problems. New research has found that people newly diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes attending a DESMOND (Diabetes Education and Self Management for Ongoing and Newly Diagnosed) course show a significant reduction over 12 months in HbA1c levels from 8.48% to 6.7%. A reduction of HbA1c by 1% has shown to reduce the risk of developing complications such as blindness, kidney disease and amputations by 37 per cent (UKPDS).
Results from the pilot study of 226 people revealed today at the European Association for the Study of Diabetes conference in Copenhagen also show that education can change how people view their condition enabling them to improve self-care and take on personal responsibility. After 12 months, frequency of walking increased from four to five days a week. Furthermore, waist circumference was reduced from 40 inches to 38.6 inches and blood pressure levels from 145/85 to 132/79. The study was funded by Diabetes UK.
Douglas Smallwood, Chief Executive at Diabetes UK, said: "People with Type 2 diabetes have to understand that there is no such thing as 'mild' diabetes, the condition can kill. This research backs up growing evidence that education directly benefits the long term health of people with diabetes. The current failings of the NHS to provide structured education for all people with diabetes are not only unacceptable but also demonstrates NHS short sightedness at leaving people at risk of preventable health complications."
Dr Helen Dallosso, one of the researchers, said: "We are increasingly aware that enabling those with diabetes to become actively involved in managing their own condition rather than relying on healthcare professionals to do it for them is more effective and long-lasting than traditional care. The challenge now is to secure the necessary resources to ensure that this approach is available to everyone with diabetes across the country."
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Notes to editor
1 The research described above is referenced from a poster session presented at the EASD 2006. Davies MJ, Carey ME, Dallosso HM, Khunti K, Skinner TC – Effects of a structured education programme on illness beliefs, QoL and physical activity in individuals newly diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes: the DESMOND pilot study.
2 The results are preliminary as this was a pilot study with no control group. The group are currently running a large randomised control trial with 830 patients recruited and due to report in 2007.
3 Diabetes UK is the charity for people with diabetes. We fund medical research, provide information and support to people with diabetes and campaign on their behalf.
4 There are 2.1 million people in the UK diagnosed with diabetes. Diabetes UK estimates that there are a further 750,000 people in the UK with diabetes who don't know it.