T1 Diabetes Education Pays Off in the UK

A little T1 diabetes education goes a long way in cutting health care costs, according to a pair of new studies.



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We have known all along that helping people understand their T1 leads to better health outcomes, but we rarely quantify how much help such education provides. However, new findings by the Diabetes Forum and the Association of British Clinical Diabetologists has found that such education can dramatically improve the quality of life for people with diabetes and even reduce taxpayer money spent on public health care.

The survey by Diabetes Forum looked into how satisfied the T1 community was with their quality of life, as well as how much anxiety people with T1 felt towards the possibility of experiencing a hypo or other diabetes-related complications. Once the results were analyzed, there was a strong correlation between those who felt in control of their diabetes management and those who reported lower HbA1c levels. (The data didn’t draw a completely straight line, however. People’s anxiety of experiencing a hypo wasn’t directly correlated with feeling in control; the majority of people experiencing anxiety over hypos had HbA1c levels between 6 and 8.9.) Most importantly, the survey showed that feeling in control of diabetes went hand in hand with a strong understanding of diabetes and having access to training on how to properly manage it.

Meanwhile, the National Diabetes Inpatient Audit (NaDIA), conducted jointly by Diabetes UK and the Association of British Clinical Diabetologists, revealed that 600,000 diabetes-related hospital admissions could have been avoided this past year through better preventative care. Not only did diabetes-related admissions and readmissions account for 1 in 6 hospital beds, but it’s estimated that the cost of these visits is more than $930 million each year. To put that in perspective, that’s almost 5% of Britain’s National Health Service diabetes budget.

What this means is that while T1 education helps individuals feel confident about their health management, it actually has a much larger impact than a lot of us previously realized. What’s even more telling is that the lack of adequate diabetes education is hurting not only those of us with diabetes, but also those without diabetes, given that over 16% of hospital beds are taken by a person with diabetes who could have avoided a hospital admission.

shutterstock_147348752_diabetes_definition_300pxWe all must do our part to demand better education about diabetes care, complications, and daily management. By getting involved in diabetes organizations in our community, we can help reach out to and educate others who have just recently been diagnosed with T1 or have never received any type of preventative care training. In addition, better access to tools such as CGMs, insulin pumps, and even our Timesulin insulin pen replacement cap would give more people in the T1 community the ability to better manage their diabetes on a daily basis. Organizations like Diabetes UK and the JDRF UK already have programs in place that help spread diabetes awareness and education, and they make great places to donate your time to reach people in the T1 community. Whatever we choose to do to help will be a force multiplier that will not only benefit the T1 community, but all of society.

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John Sjolund is the co-founder and CEO of Timesulin, a European company that manufactures a timer-enabled replacement cap for insulin pens. He was diagnosed T1 at age 3.