Research shows a lack of education is leading to life-limiting complications from diabetes
Diabetic Scots are struggling to cope because they don’t know how to manage their illness, a leading charity has said.
Figures from the NHS Scotland show over 40% of people with type 2 diabetes regularly exceed guidelines for blood sugar levels largely because education surrounding diabetes is so poor.
National charity Diabetes Scotland is now calling for an education “silver bullet” to help people manage their condition better.
The call comes ahead of World Diabetes Day on Saturday 14 November in which camapigners around the globe will heighten awareness of the issues faced by people living with the illness.
The charity has launched its Taking Control campaign to coincide with the day, calling for better education to increase people’s life expectancy.
By attending a diabetes education course people feel empowered to take control - Jane-Claire Judson
Jane-Claire Judson, national director of Diabetes Scotland, said: “Managing diabetes without adequate education is like getting behind the wheel of a Formula One car without instruction
“Managing diabetes is complicated and people must be supported to understand the condition and live well.
“Education can be the silver bullet. By attending a diabetes education course people feel empowered to take control, manage their condition with confidence and reduce their risk of developing avoidable complications, such as kidney disease, stroke and amputation.
“We want to encourage everyone in Scotland who is living with diabetes to ask their healthcare professional to be enrolled in a diabetes education course.”
Campaigners say that investing in education will reap rewards in the longer term reducing pressure on the NHS to deal with patients who have mis-managed their condition.
NHS Scotland is estimated to spend around £1bn a year managing diabetes and related illnesses, 80% of which is said to be avoidable with adequate education.
Judson added: “Our campaign also calls on NHS Scotland to improve its education offering to help people manage this serious, complex and often overwhelming condition.
“While improvements in patient education in recent years have been encouraging, with the issue acknowledged in the Scottish Government’s Diabetes Improvement Plan 2014, more needs to be done to ensure that every person diagnosed with diabetes is able to access the essential education which can allow them to live well.
“It is crucial that education is made available both at the point of diagnosis and beyond as the education needs of people already living with the condition can change over time.
“Additionally, the provision of education should take into account the daily lives and responsibilities of people living with diabetes with more flexible course options.
“For example, if you are working or have childcare responsibilities, attending sessions scheduled during the week can be challenging.”