In a government-commissioned audit of diabetes healthcare practices, Dr Bob Young – a consultant diabetologist – found that as many as 24,000 people who die from diabetes each year did not engage in an appropriate regime of treatment that may have extended their life expectancy dramatically.
Even more disheartening, although many of these deaths occur in sufferers over the age of 65, the smaller group of younger patients suffering from the condition find themselves at most risk of premature death.
These shocking statistics do not apportion blame at the door of the NHS or the individual sufferers, but instead speak of a severe lack of understanding, awareness and suitable care for sufferers of all ages.
Evidence shows that diabetes may have connections with other illnesses such as Polycystic Ovary Syndrome.
Although diabetics suffer from a chronic condition with no cure, there are many treatments that can help patients to avoid related illnesses and live for a relatively normal life expectancy.
A portion of these premature deaths is no doubt the result of undiagnosed diabetes. Patients are failing to spot the most common symptoms of the illness including lethargy, blurry vision, excess thirst and frequent urination and, as a result, not seeking the treatment they need.
However, sticking to the right treatment can be difficult and, even with pharmaceutical solutions in hand, the lifestyle changes asked of patients can sometimes feel overwhelming.
With death rates at such high levels, it is only through personal responsibility and increased efforts in patient awareness that the medical community can avoid more deaths as the result of diabetes.