Care of older people with diabetes raised

The growing threat of Type 2 diabetes is being “felt deeply” by the older generation, a world-leading expert has said.

Professor Alan Sinclair told a House of Lords reception that efforts needed to be “doubled” to enhance the care of older people with the condition who also face a “parallel threat of ageing and the rising wave of comorbidities, frailty and disability”.

The Director of Diabetes Frail urged for the care of older people with diabetes to be improved.

Speaking at the event staged at the House of Lords on Monday, November 7, he said: “We recognise the growing threat of diabetes in the UK, for example the Department of Health has estimated that, in England alone, around 3.2 millions people had diabetes in 2013-14, 6.2 per cent of the adult population, of whom around 400,000, 1.2 per cent of the adult population, were undiagnosed.

“The Public Health Observatory Diabetes Prevalence Model predicts that by 2025 a total of 4.8 millions adults will be living with diabetes across England, Wales and Scotland.

“I have already emphasised that this impact is felt deeply by our ageing population where the prevalence of diabetes is double or triple that of younger counterparts depending on the subpopulations studied.”

Baroness Masham of Ilton is a crossbench member of the House of Lords who agreed for Professor Sinclair to stage the function attended by doctors, researchers as well as patient and industry representatives. Attendees included Professor Jonathan Valabhji, the National Clinical Director for Obesity and Diabetes at NHS England, and Chairman of the Association of British Clinical Diabetologists, Dr Rob Gregory, and Anne Felton, Vice-President of the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) and Chair of FEND (Federation European Nurses in Diabetes).

Baroness Masham told the audience: “I congratulate you all on what you are doing, your work must be heard locally and nationally.”

Professor Sinclair added: “I was delighted when Lady Masham agreed to host an event specific to older people with diabetes. I would like to feel that this is an acknowledgement of the increasing view that our ageing diabetic communities bear an excess personal health burden that requires clear positive intervention.”

Diabetes Frail explores the emergence of frailty in ageing populations and its association with diabetes. The organisation’s Foundation for Research in Older People builds on Professor Sinclair’s experience and expertise to deliver high-quality research programmes which focus the impacts of ageing, diabetes and frailty in older people

Professor Sinclair updated delegates about his research projects, including the soon-to-be complete, largest-ever clinical trial of almost 1,000 older people with diabetes and frailty called MIDFRAIL sponsored by the European Union.

He spoke about a collaboration with King’s College London on exploring the additional impact of diabetes on mortality in older people using data from a large UK primary care database.

An update was also given on an audit of neuropathy screening practice in inpatients and care home residents with the use of the non-invasive Neuropad test. The findings indicated that older hospital inpatients and care home residents, with and without diabetes, were at high risk of serious foot complications, such as ulceration, in view of the very high levels of nerve damage detected.

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