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Issue 98 Item 3 Diabetes Signs Start Sooner Than Expected

Study shows that complications can occur even with “Pre-Diabetes September 18, 2000 — New research shows that patients with diabetes had signs of early disease — such as kidney problems, lower limb problems and loss of sight — 10 to 13 years before they were diagnosed.

Doctors and other health professionals have been urged to step up their efforts to identify and treat diabetes in the wake of a new study, details of which have been released at the European Association for the Study of Diabetes.

The UK Diabetes Informational Analysis and Benchmarking Service (UKDIABS) was carried out between 1996 and 2000 and looked at more than 155,000 patient records from across the UK.

Researchers found entries in medical records of patients who eventually developed diabetes, suggesting early signs of the disease. Eye complications were identified in 33 per cent of the records; foot complications in 24 per cent and cardiovascular complications in 24 per cent of the patients diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.

"This research has major implications for health care professionals treating people with diabetes," said Moira Murphy, MD, director of research at Diabetes, UK, the charity that funded the research. "The progress of life-threatening complications like kidney disease could be slowed down dramatically if people were treated for diabetes early enough."

"There are also implications for health spending in the UK and elsewhere," she added.