Diabetes: ‘Backlog of testing’ after 7.4 million fewer tests last year – symptoms to spot
Type 2 diabetes can be a 'devastating diagnosis' says expert
We use your sign-up to provide content in ways you’ve consented to and to improve our understanding of you. This may include adverts from us and 3rd parties based on our understanding. You can unsubscribe at any time. More info
Researchers have warned that a lack of face-to-face GP appointments means that this shortfall could continue. The authors of the study say that over the coming months, “healthcare services will need to manage this backlog of testing and prescribing.”
The analysis by researchers at the University of Manchester indicates that 7.4million fewer checks than usual took place in general practices between March and December 2020.
Older people from deprived areas were most likely to miss out, according to analysis.
The researchers studied 618,161 people with type 2 diabetes. Across the UK, 20.3 million checks were expected to take place during this period, but only around 12.8 million took place.
They followed participants between March and December 2020, who came from 1,744 UK general practices.
READ MORE: Pfizer booster shot: The third shot side effect that makes daily activities ‘impossible’
NICE recommended that people with diabetes should have at least annual checks of weight, blood pressure, smoking status, haemoglobin, cholesterol, creatinine, urinary albumin, retinopathy and feet.
Yet researchers have found a reduction in checks, which they suggest is likely to do with the pandemic.
The study reads: “The impact on the NHS, and in particular on diabetes services, has been enormous, with the suspension of much routine care.
“As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, there is an urgent need to minimise the harm done through reduction of routine services and to prioritise care and resources to areas of greatest need.”
The researchers say that the management of type 2 diabetes “occurs almost exclusively in primary care”.
Given this, lower general practice attendance due to COVID-19 would likely restrict the ability to perform these health checks.
In early March 2020, GPs were advised to minimise the number of face-to-face contacts they had with their patients.
The data suggest that this reduction of clinical services has contributed to major reductions in the monitoring of diabetes and the prescribing of new medication, particularly for high blood pressure.
The researchers note that type 2 diabetes is a progressive condition and therefore without intervention, risk factors such as blood pressure tend to increase over time.
They state: “It is concerning that we observed a 22% reduction in new antihypertensive medication prescribing between March and December 2020, perhaps caused by less frequent monitoring and restricted face-to-face clinical contacts.”
Researchers note there is evidence that national lockdowns have had detrimental effects on cardiovascular disease risk for people with type 2 diabetes, “which could be exacerbated by the reduced monitoring and prescribing observed in our study”.
The study concludes that healthcare planners “should seize opportunities provided by the COVID-19 pandemic” to improve models, processes and standards of care for people with diabetes.
There are several risk factors for type 2 diabetes, as well as some symptoms and signs to be aware of.
The most common symptoms experienced by many people with diabetes are increased thirst, increased urination, and feeling tired.
The charity Diabetes UK, says 13.6 million people in the UK are at risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
You are more at risk of type 2 diabetes if you’re carrying extra weight, especially if this weight is around your middle.
Source: Read Full Article