New online research from Diabetes UK has revealed that 43% of people in the south-west did not know if diabetes can cause erectile dysfunction, a common diabetes-related complication.
The poll, carried out by YouGov on behalf of Diabetes UK also showed that 41% of south-west respondents did not know if more people in the UK have diabetes than cancer and dementia combined, while 8% said they did not know whether people with diabetes can consume any sugar at all.
The findings mark the launch of the charity’s self-management education platform, “Learning Zone”, which aims to help people understand more about diabetes and how to manage it.
According to Diabetes UK, there are 3.7 million people diagnosed with diabetes in the UK, of which 299,299 are in the south-west. About 90 per cent are estimated to have Type 2 and 10 per cent have Type 1.
Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune condition where the body doesn’t produce insulin. The cause is not known, but it has nothing to do with being overweight and it is not currently preventable.
Type 2 diabetes can be caused by a variety of factors, some of which are out of people’s control, including age, family history and ethnic background. People who are overweight are more likely to get Type 2 diabetes, and three in five cases can be prevented with more exercise and healthy eating.
Both types can lead to complications, because high blood sugar, blood pressure and blood fats can seriously damage parts of the body, including the eyes and feet, and sexual organs in both men and women. However, with the right treatment, knowledge and support, people with diabetes can lead a long, full and healthy life.
Phaedra Perry, south-west regional head at Diabetes UK, said:
“On average, people with diabetes spend three hours a year with a healthcare professional. For the remaining 8,757 hours they manage their diabetes themselves. The lack of awareness around the impact it has on the body shapes people’s approach on how to self-manage.
“Diabetes self-management education can help anyone who has been diagnosed to stay healthy, live well and avoid debilitating complications. But, it can be hard to find trusted sources of information online that actually help people safely manage their condition.
“That’s why we created an innovative digital service to provide tailored and easy-to-understand advice that’s been clinically approved and grounded in the latest medical research.
“We hope that this is the start of a new era in diabetes education, where online learning can be used alongside education courses to improve quality of life and reduce the risk of complications for people with the condition.”
If you are living with Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes you can try Learning Zone by visiting www.diabetes.org.uk/zone