Reducing the risk of suicide in people with diabetes

Diabetes UK | 4 January 2022 | Reducing the risk of suicide in people with diabetes

Suicide and diabetes isn’t something that’s generally talked about. But we should be talking about it, says Simon O’Neill, Diabetes UK’s Director of Health Intelligence and Professional Liaison. Here he explains why and what to do if you need help or want to help a loved one.

Diabetes can be hard to live with. The daily grind of checking blood glucose levels, carb-counting, insulin adjustment and dealing with hypos and highs can take its toll. It’s relentless and there’s no day off. Unsurprisingly diabetes burnout, when you’ve just had enough, is common. We also know that depression is twice as likely if you have diabetes and that 60 per cent of people with diabetes struggle with their mental wellbeing at some point.

So it isn’t that surprising that people with diabetes have double the risk of suicide or intentional self injury compared with the general population. But that isn’t something that’s widely talked about.

The RESCUE collaborative community are trying to do just that – start talking about suicide and self harm in diabetes – and to make sure that help and support are there if people need it. I’m part of that collaborative, to ensure that the voices of people with diabetes are right at the heart of the conversation (Source: DiabetesUK).

Full details from Diabetes UK

[Free Diabetes UK Conference] Type 1 and Tech

Diabetes UK | September 2021 | Type 1 and Tech

Diabetes UK is holding an online conference for people living with type 1 diabetes, parents of children with type 1 diabetes, carers and healthcare professionals. Professor Partha Kar is hosting the conference.

The programme covers topics from emotional health, sports, exercise and pregnancy, you’ll be joining an exciting day of discussion around improving access to diabetes technology as well as the challenges and opportunities posed by the coronavirus pandemic.

The conference is held on Saturday 16 October, 10.00am to 2.00pm 

Full details are available from Diabetes UK

Image source: Diabetes UK Image is a poster to promote the conference, this poster is available to download from Diabetes UK


Can DNA-based diets improve blood sugar levels in people at high risk of type 2? New study needs participants to find out the answer

Diabetes UK | August 2021 | Can DNA-based diets improve blood sugar levels in people at high risk of type 2?

Adult over 18 with prediabetes could help contribute to research to test a new type of diet that might improve blood sugar levels and potentially prevent the development of type 2 diabetes in this population. The new diet is tailored to a person’s particular genetic makeup- a DNA-based diet.

Researchers at Imperial College are looking for participants who will be randomised to three different groups: one group will receive special dietary guidelines via an app and wearable wristband or via a dietitian, or usual care which is standard dietary advice for people at risk of developing type 2 diabetes the study will run for 26 weeks.

Further information is available from Diabetes UK

Diabetes UK: DUKPC research highlights day 2

Diabetes UK | 20 April 2021 | DUKPC research highlights: day 2

Day 2 of this year’s Diabetes UK Professional Conference (DUKPC) saw new research presented that is investigating the role dietary fibre could play in preventing type 2 diabetes. Dr Denise Robertson, from the University of Surrey was discussing her research looking into substituting normal starch with with resistant starch (in foods such as pulses, bananas and can also be added to food), to determine if it can reduce blood sugar levels and help people with type 2 diabetes to manage their condition. The study is still being conducted, the findings will be available from Diabetes UK on completion (Source: Diabetes UK).

Image source: Diabetes UK Visual summary of the lecture

Further details about the project are available from Diabetes UK

See also Dr Robertson’s blog post Will resistant starch change the way we think about carbs?

Warning over risk to diabetes patients amid imminent lockdown easing #covid19rftlks

Nursing Times|  June 2020 | Warning over risk to diabetes patients amid imminent lockdown easing

Not enough is being done to keep people with long-term conditions safe, according to a leading charity, which highlighted that people with diabetes make up 26% of UK coronavirus deaths.

Last week, the government announced plans to ease shielding measures, and to revise social distancing rules in England in an attempt to get the UK reopened following lockdown.

But the charity said it was concerned that steps to ease lockdown and reopen the UK risked leaving millions of people with diabetes “in the dark about how best to keep themselves safe”.

Backed by an open letter signed by more than 12,000 people living with and affected by diabetes, it is calling on the UK government to urgently respond to its concerns.

It wants the development of the national Covid-19 risk prediction tool to be fast-tracked, making it possible to assess a person’s individual risk based on different factors as soon as possible.

It is also calling for a “robust process” to be put in place to ensure that the advice a person is offered from the use of the tool will inform decisions about their own safety in their workplace.

Until that occurs, people who are vulnerable to serious harm, including those with diabetes, should have a right to stay working at home at this time, according to the charity.

In addition. there must be “robust” enforcement of guidance on employment protections for clinically vulnerable people and workplace Covid-19 risk assessments, said Diabetes UK.

Diabetes UK also stated that there must be “effective and proactive” communication of these measures so that people with diabetes know their rights.

It noted it had already written to the ministers three months ago but was yet to receive a response to acknowledge or confirm action would be taken to make the employment guidance more robust.

However, it said its position was backed up by the views of the public, based on a survey of over 2,000 people carried out in June.

It found 64% of respondents agreed that all UK governments needed to be doing more to ensure people with underlying health conditions were kept safe at work, rising to 75% among those over 55.

Chris Askew, chief executive at Diabetes UK, said: “The message from people with diabetes is clear; we want to go about our lives, but we’re deeply worried about our health as lockdown eases.

“The needs of people with diabetes are not being properly considered. People with long term conditions cannot, and should never have been the government’s blind spot. Lives are at stake.”

He added: “We reiterate our calls, which we have been doing for weeks, to ensure that people with diabetes are not forgotten, and that additional measures and safeguards are in place.” (Source: Nursing Times)

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Guidance for clinically vulnerable people, and employers, remains unclear, warned Diabetes UK, which is calling for better risk assessment before those with diabetes return to workplaces.



Results of long-term study could help identify children at risk of future type 2 diabetes| January 2020 | Results of long-term study could help identify children at risk of future type 2 diabetes

University of Plymouth & Nestle researchers have identified biological and physiological factors which lead to the development of type 2 diabetes in adults. 

The EarlyBird cohort study followed 300 healthy children in Plymouth,  for 15 years to determine who would become at risk of developing type 2 diabetes, and why. The findings have been published in the journal Diabetes Care 


Jon Pinkney, Professor of Endocrinology and Diabetes in the University of Plymouth’s Peninsula Medical School and Honorary Consultant Physician in Endocrinology and Diabetes at University Hospitals Plymouth NHS Trust said:

“The rapidly rising prevalence of type 2 diabetes is one of the biggest global health challenges, and there is an urgent need to develop effective strategies for early intervention and prevention.

“The research partnership between University of Plymouth and Nestlé has shown how the risks of future type 2 diabetes can be predicted in childhood. This opens up the possibility of individualised advice and early intervention to reduce the risks of future type 2 diabetes.” (Source: University of Plymouth)

The press release from University of Plymouth also provides more information on the EarlyBird study, available here 

The abstract is available from Diabetes Care but for the full contact the Library & Knowledge Service 

University of Plymouth Results of long-term study could help identify children at risk of future type 2 diabetes

Related: Genetic link to identify children at risk of type 2 diabetes


Diabetes UK strategy 2020-2025

Diabetes UK has launched a new strategy called ‘A generation to end the harm: Diabetes UK Strategy 2020-2025’ coinciding with World Diabetes Day 2019 

Image source:

There are an estimated 2.85 million people diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in England, and more than 850,000 living with the condition who do not know they have it because they have not yet been diagnosed − bringing the total up to 3.7 million.

The new strategy from Diabetes UK focuses on achieving five key outcomes by 2025:

  • more people with type 1, type 2 and all other forms of diabetes will benefit from new treatments that cure or prevent the condition
  • more people will be in remission from type 2 diabetes
  • more people will get the quality of care they need to manage their diabetes well
  • fewer people will get type 2 and gestational diabetes
  • more people will live better and more confident lives with diabetes, free from discrimination.

The charity said that more than half of all cases of type 2 diabetes could be prevented or delayed, and in turn, the risk of developing the related complications, by tackling overweight and obesity.

Full document: A generation to end the harm: Diabetes UK Strategy 2020-2025

See also: Obesity rate doubles over past 20 years | OnMedica

Taking a Type 1 diabetes honeymoon

Diabetes UK | October 2019 | Taking a Type 1 diabetes honeymoon

People with recently-diagnosed type 1 diabetes mellitus (T1D) may undergo a transient period of glycaemic control with less exogenous insulin. This ‘remission’ is sometimes referred to as the honeymoon phase; with this in mind recent research conducted by experts at University College London wanted to identify why the partial recovery does not happen to everyone as this could inform a better understanding of glycaemic control. 

The team at UCL used data from ADDRESS 2 a collection of information and blood samples from over 5,000 people newly diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes, funded by Diabetes UK – to look at the characteristics of those who did and didn’t experience a honeymoon.
blur-checking-close-up-1001897.jpgThey tracked participants for 12 months after their diagnosis and defined a honeymoon period as a daily insulin dose of 0.4 units per kg of body weight (which is less insulin than most people with Type 1 would typically take), with an HbA1c of less than 53 mmol/mol (7.0%).

They found that the honeymoon was most likely to occur three months after a Type 1 diagnosis, but can begin anywhere up to 12 months after.

Prevalence of remission increased at age 20 years and at 3 months after diagnosis.

In those aged less than 20 years remission was more likely in males with no ketoacidosis and few symptoms (Source: Diabetes UK)

Read Diabetes UK  Taking a Type 1 diabetes honeymoon [press release] 

Full reference:

Humphreys, A. et al | 2019 | Individual and diabetes presentation characteristics associated with partial remission status in children and adults evaluated up to 12 months following diagnosis of type 1 diabetes: An ADDRESS-2 (After Diagnosis Diabetes Research Support System-2) study analysis |Diabetes Research and Clinical Practice | Vol.155|




People with recently-diagnosed type 1 diabetes mellitus (T1D) may undergo a transient period of glycaemic control with less exogenous insulin. Identification of predictors of this ‘remission’ could inform a better understanding of glycaemic control.



Participants in the ADDRESS-2 study were included who had 1 or 2 assessments of remission status (coincident insulin dose and HbA1c measurement, with remission defined by ≤0.4 units insulin/kg-body-weight/day with HbA1c < 53 mmol/mol). Demographic and clinical presentation characteristics were compared according to remission status and predictors of remission were explored by logistic regression analysis.



1470 first and 469 second assessments of remission status were recorded within 12 months of diagnosis of T1D. Step increases in the probability of remission were identified at age-at-diagnosis 20 years and 3 months after diagnosis (both p under 0.001). Among those aged less than  20 years, remission was associated with male gender (p equal to 0.02), no ketoacidosis (p equal to 0.02) and fewer than 2 symptoms at presentation (p equal to  0.004). None of these characteristics predicted remission in those aged equal to over  20 years. In the subgroup with two assessments, transition to remission was independently associated with first remission assessment in months 1–2 post-diagnosis (p equal to 0.01), with age-at-diagnosis more than or equal to  20 years (p equal to 0.01) and, in those aged less than 20 years, with an early HbA1c of less than 57 mmol/mol. Adiposity, ethnicity, autoantibody status and other autoimmune disease were unrelated to remission.



For those diagnosed before 20 years of age, males, ketoacidosis-free, with fewer symptoms and low early HbA1c were more likely to experience remission, but remission was most likely in anyone aged more than or equal to  20 at diagnosis.

The Library & Knowledge Service can provide access to this article for Rotherham NHS Staff, request a copy here


Number of people with diabetes reaches 4.7 million

Diabetes UK | February 2019 | Number of people with diabetes reaches 4.7 million

Data analysed by Diabetes UK shows that 1 in 10 over 40s now has type 2 diabetes, with the total number of people living with diabetes reaching 4.7 million. This is expected to increase to 5.5 million by 2030.

Diabetes UK’s latest figures indicate that 3.8 million are living with the condition, 90 per cent of these people have diabetes 2, but estimates suggest the ‘real figure’ could be much higher as there are almost 1 million people who do not realise they have diabetes.

Chris Askew,  Chief Executive of the charity said:

“Millions of Type 2 diabetes cases could be prevented if we help people understand their risk and how to reduce it. Even though the older people get the more likely they are to have Type 2 diabetes, it is never too early to know your risk so that you can make changes to prevent or delay it.

“The signs of Type 2 diabetes are often not obvious, that’s why spotting them early can be life-changing. Early diagnosis means that fewer people will experience diabetes-related complications such as sight loss, amputation, kidney failure, stroke and heart disease, because they could seek support to manage their condition effectively as soon as possible.

“We urge people over 40 to get an NHS Health Check and we advise everyone to find out their risk of developing Type 2 diabetes with the Know your Risk tool.”

Read the full story at Diabetes UK 

In the news:

The Express Type 2 diabetes: Three exercises to do every day to help prevent a high blood sugar level



26,378 diabetes-related lower limb amputations in the last three years

Diabetes UK | December 2018 | 26,378 diabetes-related lower limb amputations in the last three years

New analysis from Diabetes UK  shows there were 26,378 lower limb amputations related to diabetes in England from 2014 to 2017, an increase of almost one- fifth  (19.4%) from 2010-2013.

The analysis reveals that here has been a significant rise in minor lower limb amputations (26.5%), defined as below the ankle, and a more gradual increase in the number of major lower limb amputations (4.1%), defined as below the knee.



Head of Care at Diabetes UK, Dan Howarth said:

“The shocking number of lower limb amputations related to diabetes grows year on year. An amputation, regardless of whether it’s defined as minor or major, is devastating and life-changing. A minor amputation can still involve losing a whole foot.

“To reduce the number of amputations related to diabetes, we are calling on NHS England to maintain the Diabetes Transformation Fund beyond 2019. Many diabetes amputations are avoidable, but the quality of footcare for people living with diabetes varies significantly across England. Transformation funding since 2017 is working and will help to reduce these variations, but much work still needs to be done.” (Source: Diabetes UK)

Read the full release from Diabetes UK

In the news:

Guardian Record 169 UK patients a week get diabetes-related amputations