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Diabetes

Annual diabetes checks cut mortality risk for people with diabetes

Community and GP pharmacists have an important role to play in supporting annual diabetes checks, which are essential in helping early detection of diabetes-related complications, a consultant pharmacist specialising in diabetes and endocrinology has said.

Philip Newland-Jones, consultant pharmacist in diabetes and endocrinology at University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust, made his comments after the ‘National Diabetes Audit 2015–2016[1] revealed that people with diabetes who have had annual checks in the preceding seven years have half the mortality rate of patients with diabetes who have not had the checks.

It is the first time that the audit has looked at the relationship between annual check uptake and mortality rate, and mortality rates were halved in all five-year age groups from 35–39 to 70–74 who had received regular annual checks over the last seven years.

Overall, people with diabetes have a higher risk of death than the general population, but the audit shows that the relative risk of premature death is far greater in younger people with diabetes. Patients with type 1 and type 2 diabetes who had been included in the 2013–2014 audit were 32.1% more likely to die prematurely than the general population. For people with type 1 diabetes, the additional risk of death was 127.8% than the wider population, while for those with type 2 diabetes it was 28.4% higher.

Newland-Jones said: “Community pharmacists can add value opportunistically, simply by asking if patients have had their annual diabetes check when they come to pick up diabetes medications, or ensuring the importance of annual checks is reiterated while undertaking medicines use reviews or reviews as part of the new medicines service. There are already great examples around the country of GP pharmacists undertaking annual diabetes reviews in collaboration with a practice nurse or healthcare assistant, working within their scope of practice and expertise.”

The report also revealed that in 2015–2016, 29.2% of all emergency and non-emergency hospital admissions for cardiovascular conditions were for people with diabetes.

Patients with diabetes who died were far more likely than the general population to die from a vascular outcome, including coronary heart disease, heart failure and stroke. Among the 102,010 people with diabetes who died in 2015, 33.4% died from a vascular outcome, compared with 28.5% of the general population.

Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal DOI: 10.1211/PJ.2017.20203206

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