Diabetes treatment in the United Kingdom, specifically blood glucose management, is considered the worst in Europe. Nearly two-thirds of people with diabetes in England are not receiving the standard of treatment outlined by that country’s National Institute of Health and Care Excellence (NICE). That may be short-sighted, as a major new study shows that continuous, small improvements to blood sugar level management can seriously improve the health of over 3.5 million individuals in the country with a diabetes diagnosis.
The study sought to find the advantages for both patient health and the government’s financial burden by examining the benefits of earlier intervention to help people with diabetes establish good blood sugar control. The IMPACT 2 study found that even small improvements have the potential to lower the cost of diabetes management and other health costs by £5.5 billion ($8 billion) over 25 years. The IMPACT 2 study was a collaboration between Diabetes UK, JDRF, Sanofi, and UK health organizations.
The NHS spends £10 billion ($14 billion) annually on diabetes-related expenses. 80 percent of this comes from treating common diabetes complications, such as kidney failure, amputations, and blindness. Many of these complications can be avoided through better education at the time of diagnosis and more attentive blood sugar management, according to researchers.
While the study highlights the financial benefits of blood sugar management, those benefits would translate into tangible health benefits for thousands of people with Type 2 diabetes. Currently, UK lawmakers are looking for ways to cut costs during a prolonged austerity push – it remains to be seen if they will make a short-term investment in better diabetes care to reap long-term financial benefits.
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