Under-40s with type 2 diabetes are to have their care ‘transformed’ by a world-first NHS programme.
Tens of thousands of people in England living with the condition will receive tailored health checks and support with diabetes management such as blood sugar level control and weight advice.
Under the programme, patients will benefit from extra one-to-one reviews as well as the option of new medicines and treatment.
There will also be dedicated support available for women – such as access to folic acid supplements – due to additional risks linked to the condition during pregnancy.
Early onset type 2 diabetes is more aggressive than later onset type 2 diabetes and affects around 140,000 people aged 18 to 39.
Under-40s with type 2 diabetes are to have their care ‘transformed’ by a world-first NHS programme
It is defined as a serious disease by medical experts and is linked to early death, worse long-term health and higher risk of complications such as sight loss, kidney failure, amputation, heart attacks and strokes.
The NHS is the first health system in the world to put in place a national, targeted programme for this high-risk group of people.
The scheme will be rolled out by local health teams to help minimise the risk of these people developing health complications and severe illness.
Eligible individuals may also be able to access the NHS Type 2 Diabetes Path to Remission Programme – a year-long scheme including 12 weeks of low-calorie diet replacement products and support to re-introduce food.
Professor Jonathan Valabhji, National Clinical Director for Diabetes and Obesity said: ‘Type 2 diabetes in people under 40 is a growing problem globally – England is no exception, meaning there is an ever-increasing challenge for the NHS.
‘We know this age group is least likely to complete vital annual health checks but we want to ensure people are able to manage their diabetes well and reduce the risk of serious complications, which is exactly why we have embarked on an ambitious and world-first initiative called T2Day: Type 2 Diabetes in the Young.
‘The programme will provide targeted intervention for each person under the age of 40 living with type 2 diabetes, including additional reviews focused on completing proven diabetes care processes, managing blood sugar levels, weight management, preparation for pregnancy, and supporting any unmet psychological or social needs.
Eligible individuals may also be able to access the NHS Type 2 Diabetes Path to Remission Programme – a year-long scheme including 12 weeks of low-calorie diet replacement products and support to re-introduce food
‘We are delighted to roll out this initiative, which we hope will be a big step forward to improving care in this high-risk group of individuals.’ Analysis of the National Diabetes Audit has shown that the rate at which young adults are diagnosed with early-onset type 2 diabetes has risen faster than the rate of diagnosis in over 40’s in England.
Research shows that on average, someone diagnosed with type 2 diabetes at 20 years-old will have an overall reduced life expectancy of 11 years compared to a reduced life expectancy of two years when diagnosed at 65 years-old.
Chris Askew OBE, Chief Executive of Diabetes UK, said: ‘This is a vitally important step towards improving care for people who develop type 2 diabetes at an early age.
‘Type 2 diabetes is a serious, life-changing condition. It can have more severe and acute consequences in younger adults and is more common in people from ethnic minorities and those living in the most deprived areas.
‘Yet we know that access to vital routine diabetes care is lower in the 18-40 age group – putting those affected at a higher risk of potentially devastating complications.’