Ignorance of diabetes is 'a disaster in waiting': 70% of Brits don't know …

Daily Mail Reporter

20:12 EST, 22 September 2013


20:15 EST, 22 September 2013

Widespread ignorance: Most Britons don't know that diabetes can have seriously damaging effects on health (file picture)

Widespread ignorance: Most Britons don’t know that diabetes can have seriously damaging effects on health (file picture)

Widespread ignorance about the damaging effects of diabetes is exposed in a poll out today.

Some 70 per cent of Britons said they did not know that the most serious form of the disease can lead to amputations and blindness.

Only 16 per cent knew that heart attacks are linked to type 2 diabetes and just 7 per cent realised it could trigger strokes, according to the survey.

The lack of awareness comes despite the fact that those with the illness are 36 per cent more likely to die in any given year than those without it of the same age.

Diabetes UK commissioned the survey as part of a £2million campaign funded in partnership with Tesco to raise awareness of the risk factors.

The charity’s chief executive Barbara Young said the aim is to ‘lay to rest the myth’ that type 2 diabetes is a mild condition.

‘This is a misconception that is wrecking lives and is the reason that as a country we are sleepwalking towards a public health disaster of an almost unimaginable scale,’ she said.

Losing weight, eating more fruit and vegetables and becoming more active are thought to cut the risks of diabetes.

But only half of those who took part in the poll knew being overweight was a risk factor.

Only 13 per cent realised that having a family member with diabetes raises the danger and one in 100 mentioned being South Asian or black as a risk factor.

Without urgent action, campaigners fear cases of type 2 diabetes will rise by one million to five million by 2025.