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£5billion annual bill for diabetes care is a whopping SIXTH of the NHS budget

£5billion annual bill for diabetes care is a whopping SIXTH of the NHS budget as epidemic of the illness is fuelled by soaring obesity

  • One sixth of the entire NHS hospital budget is spent treating diabetic patients
  • Some £3billion used to treat complications of diabetes such as kidney failure
  • Researchers looked at hospital admissions and A&E visits of 58million people

One sixth of the entire NHS hospital budget is spent treating patients who have diabetes, a study has revealed.

Last year, hospitals spent £5.5billion caring for people with the condition amid an epidemic of type 2 diabetes fuelled by soaring obesity.

Some £3billion was used to treat complications of diabetes such as kidney failure – which experts say could be avoided with better management of the condition.

Researchers at the University of Manchester analysed NHS data covering the hospital admissions and A&E visits of 58million people in England.

They found that care for patients with diabetes cost £5.5billion in 2017/18. This represents nearly 16 per cent of the total NHS hospital spending of £36billion.

One sixth of the entire NHS hospital budget is spent treating patients who have diabetes, a study by researchers at the University of Manchester has revealed 

Of that, £3billion was spent on treating problems including kidney disease and blindness directly caused by diabetes – which leads to elevated blood sugar levels.

On average, those with type 2 diabetes, which is linked to obesity, need care costing £1,291 a year. This is more than twice as much as the £510 required by non-diabetes patients, the analysis found.

Those with type 1 diabetes – an unpreventable autoimmune disease that usually develops in childhood – require six times more hospital treatment at £3,035 per person per year.

Both types are characterised by high levels of sugar in the blood and can ultimately lead to blindness, kidney failure, heart attacks and strokes.

Experts said that better management of diabetes could significantly reduce hospital admissions and save the NHS billions. 

Study author Dr Adrian Heald called for more investment in specialist GP care and public health programmes to help people lose weight and manage blood sugar levels. He said: ‘People with diabetes are admitted to hospital more often, especially as emergencies, and stay on average longer as inpatients.

DIABETES PATIENTS WITH HIGH BLOOD SUGAR VARIABILITY MORE LIKELY TO DIE 

Type 2 diabetes patients with the highest variability in their blood sugar control are more than twice as likely to die as those with the most stable blood sugar measurements, a study suggests.

Measuring glycated haemoglobin (HbA1c) in a patient’s blood has for many years been a standard method for measuring blood sugar control.

Scientists looked at how variations in HbA1c affected the health of patients, including the combined outcome of major adverse cardiovascular events  – known as MACE.

When looking specifically at the highest variation group (80-100 per cent) versus the lowest (0-20 per cent), the highest group faced 2.4 higher odds of all three outcomes of MACE, all-cause and cardiovascular mortality.

There was a 2.6 times increased risk of coronary artery disease, a doubling of risk of stroke and a tripled risk of heart failure, diabetic peripheral neuropathy and chronic kidney disease.

The authors, led by Professor Ewan Pearson, University of Dundee, said: ‘A highly variable HbA1c should be considered as a major risk factor for adverse outcomes, even if the average HbA1c is not too high.’ 

The findings are being presented this month at the Annual Meeting of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes (EASD) in Barcelona.

‘They often go to hospitals with kidney complications, heart failure and damage to a variety of organs including eyes and feet. Once this avoidable damage occurs that person becomes a lot more expensive to the NHS. These increased hospital costs are three times higher than the current costs of diabetes medication.

‘About 30 per cent of diabetics do not have well controlled blood glucose levels, leading to complications that cost hospitals around £1billion a year.

‘If we can focus on managing these patients with high blood sugar that could prevent thousands of hospital admissions.

‘This includes improved management by GPs and specialist diabetes care teams, as well as encouraging people to stop smoking, exercise more and control their weight.’ The findings were presented yesterday at the European Association for the Study of Diabetes annual meeting in Barcelona.

A spokesman for the NHS said: ‘The rising number of people with type 2 diabetes is worrying for the nation’s overall health, as well as putting avoidable pressure on the NHS with a heavy cost for taxpayers.

‘The NHS Long Term Plan is playing its part, by expanding the diabetes prevention programme so 200,000 people a year who are at risk are helped to prevent it as well as significant investment to care for with those with type 1, including providing life-changing technology to measure sugar levels, which can free up NHS time and resources.’

Emma Elvin, of Diabetes UK, said: ‘Without knowing more about the reasons for the admissions, we can’t conclude that the excess spending here was definitely linked to their diabetes – or that it was absolutely avoidable.

‘What we do know, is that more than a million people with diabetes were admitted to hospital in England in 2017 – meaning around 18 per cent of hospital beds were occupied by someone with diabetes – but it is incredibly important to stress that only 8 per cent were admitted because of their condition.

‘The focus needs to be on improving the support people with diabetes receive across the whole health system to help them manage their condition.’ 

UNDERWEIGHT BABIES MORE LIKELY TO DEVELOP DIABETES AS ADULTS

Babies that weigh less than 6.4lbs (2.9kg) are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes in adulthood than the heaviest babies – over 7.9lbs (3.6kg).

Previous research has shown that people born weighing 6lbs (2.7kg) or less face an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes as adults.

However, this is the first study to show that babies born underweight are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes irrespective of their weight or cholesterol at the time of their diagnosis. 

Researchers from the University of Dundee looked at more than 48,000 Scottish people born between 1952 and 1966.

They found that compared with a baby born weighing over (3.6kg) – the top 25 per cent of birth weights – a low birthweight of less than (2.9 kg) was associated with younger age of onset of diabetes.

This was 50 years compared to 51.3 years.

They also had a lower BMI at diagnosis, and higher HDL cholesterol, known as ‘good cholesterol’ at diagnosis. 

Christian Paulina, a medical student, who conducted the research, said: ‘This link between low birthweight and age of onset of diabetes may reflect common genetic factors that both mediate birthweight and diabetes risk, or intrauterine factors such as nutrition or maternal smoking, or the combination of the two.’

The authors conclude blamed a reduced release of insulin – both in the womb and later life. However insulin production was not measured.

The findings are being presented this month at the Annual Meeting of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes (EASD) in Barcelona.

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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