It has been reported that diabetes costs the health service an estimated 5.5 billion pounds per year, most of which stems from treating the complications  of the disease such as blindness, heart and kidney problems and nerve damage, which can lead to serious conditions developing, including amputation of a limb.

How common is diabetes?

Diabetes is a relatively common condition in the UK and one which regularly makes the headlines.  It is particularly topical at the moment as Type 2 diabetes is well known to have links to obesity. According to figures provided by Diabetes UK the number of people currently living with the condition has just passed the 4 million mark.

What are the types and symptoms?

There are two main types of diabetes – Type 1 and Type 2.

In type 1 the body has stopped making its own insulin and this typically develops in children or young adults.  The condition means that you can quickly begin to suffer from very high blood sugar levels, the symptoms of which include rapid breathing, dry mouth, flushing, nausea and vomiting and stomach pain.

Type 2 diabetes is far more common and often affects those who are older and overweight.  The condition means that your body cannot produce enough insulin on its own and regular medication by means of tablet or injection of insulin is common, although sometimes in its milder form it can be controlled by diet alone.  The symptoms include feeling tired and irritable, needing to urinate more often, an increased hunger or thirst, losing weight and the slow healing of wounds.

How is it treated?

With regular care and monitoring both types of the disease can be well controlled with a combination of medication and diet.  In addition, sufferers are advised to maintain a healthy weight, lifestyle and to be as fit and healthy as possible.  The most important thing is for the sufferer to be regularly reviewed and for those treating them to be vigilant with regard to the presence of any symptoms suggesting complications.

What are the potential complications relating to diabetes?

Fortunately, if well monitored the disease can be well managed.  However, mismanagement can lead to serious complications requiring urgent and specialist treatment.

These complications include:

  • Blindness
  • Heart disease/stroke
  • Kidney disease
  • Nerve damage, leading to amputation

How likely is it that these complications will occur? 

The likelihood of complications arising can be minimised by Drs being fully aware of the signs of the disease and taking steps to check for it at an early stage.  Once diagnosed the disease must be efficiently managed. If it is diagnosed early, and then properly managed with regularly blood glucose, blood pressure and cholesterol checks, it is far less likely that serious complications will occur.  However in a recent report the BBC referred to figures which showed that only 60% of sufferers do actually receive the annual checks which are currently recommended and complications are sadly therefore all too commonplace.  In addition, the signs of those complications can be overlooked or misdiagnosed.

If your diabetes is mismanaged, or there is a delay in your initial diagnosis, then it may be that you will have suffered a worsening of your condition which could have been avoided. 

Here at Metcalfes we have an experienced team of Medical Negligence Lawyers who can offer you specialist advice.   We deal with all areas of medical negligence including delayed diagnosis. If you believe that you or a family member has suffered as a result of medical negligence then please contact us on 0117 239 8012.  Alternatively, you can email us by using our online contact form and we will be happy to discuss your potential claim with you.


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