Shropshire diabetes sufferers urged to seek support as new study highlights Covid-19 risks
Diabetes sufferers across Shropshire are being urged to access the support they need – including a new dedicated helpline and online tools to help manage the condition during the pandemic.
The plea comes as new NHS research has revealed that people living with diabetes face a significantly higher risk of dying with Covid-19.
The study shows that people living with type one diabetes are at three-and-a-half times the risk, and people living with type two are at double the risk of dying in hospital with the virus, compared to people without diabetes.
However, by far the strongest risk factor for dying with the virus is age, and people with type one diabetes are on average younger than people with type two diabetes.
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Overall, 7,466 of those who died in hospitals in England had type two and 365 who died had type one diabetes, and the research suggests that the threat for those under 40 with type one or two diabetes is very low.
Video consultations and online appointments, as well as routine discussions with GPs, are among a range of measures that the NHS has adopted so that diabetes care can continue throughout the pandemic.
A dedicated helpline – 0345 123 2399 – has also been introduced, together with Diabetes UK, Novo Nordisk and Insulet, to advise those who need help with insulin.
Patients will also receive additional support from online education services for type one and two diabetes to help them to manage their condition better.
The new helpline is part of a package of measures already in place for people with diabetes or at risk, including the world-leading Diabetes Prevention Programme, which has already successfully helped almost 90,000 people who were at risk of type two, to lose a combined weight of more than 407, 967 pounds.
Nigel Sturrock, medical director at NHS England and NHS Improvement in the Midlands, said: “This research shows the extent of the risk of coronavirus for people with diabetes and the different risks for those with type one and type two diabetes.
"Importantly, it also shows that higher blood glucose levels and obesity further increase the risk in both types of diabetes.
“This can be worrying news but we would like to reassure people that the NHS is here for anyone with concerns about diabetes – and has put extra measures in place to help people and keep them safe, including online sites to support people to care for themselves, telephone and digital consultations, and a dedicated new helpline for advice and support for people treated with insulin.”
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