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Type 2 Diabetes Prevention Week: when does poor care become negligence?

By Lindsay Clark

Published In: Clinical Negligence

Type 2 diabetes is a common condition that causes the level of sugar (glucose) in the blood to become too high. It’s a lifelong and debilitating condition which needs careful monitoring and management.  

Photo of diabetic woman checking blood sugar level

On-going and appropriate medical care is crucial in avoiding further complications. People living with type 2 should expect to receive routine checks every year to measure blood sugar, blood pressure and other important indicators. These checks are shown to reduce the risk of complications and help better manage the condition.

Common complications of type 2 diabetes

Type 2 poses significant health risks that can affect various systems and organs in the body. Some of the primary health risks associated with type 2 include:

  • Cardiovascular disease: Individuals with type 2 diabetes are at a higher risk of developing cardiovascular diseases such as heart attacks, strokes, and peripheral artery disease. High blood sugar levels can damage blood vessels and increase the buildup of fatty deposits, leading to atherosclerosis and other complications.
  • Nerve damage (Neuropathy): Elevated blood sugar levels can cause damage to the nerves throughout the body, resulting in symptoms such as numbness, tingling, or pain, usually starting in the hands and feet. Diabetic neuropathy can also affect digestion, sexual function, and other bodily processes.
  • Kidney damage (Nephropathy): Diabetes is one of the leading causes of kidney failure. High blood sugar levels can damage the small blood vessels in the kidneys, impairing their function over time. If left untreated, diabetic nephropathy can progress to end-stage renal disease, requiring dialysis or kidney transplantation.
  • Eye damage (Retinopathy): Diabetes can damage the blood vessels in the retina, the light-sensitive tissue at the back of the eye. Diabetic retinopathy can lead to vision problems, including blindness if left untreated. Additionally, individuals with diabetes are at a higher risk of developing other eye conditions such as cataracts and glaucoma.
  • Foot complications: Diabetes can increase the risk of foot problems due to poor circulation and nerve damage. Minor injuries, such as cuts or blisters, may take longer to heal and can develop into serious infections or ulcers. In severe cases, untreated foot complications can lead to amputation.
  • Skin conditions: People with diabetes are more prone to skin problems, including bacterial and fungal infections, itching, and slow wound healing. High blood sugar levels provide an ideal environment for bacteria and fungi to thrive, increasing the risk of infections.
  • Cognitive decline: Some studies suggest a link between type 2 diabetes and an increased risk of cognitive impairment and dementia. Chronic high blood sugar levels may contribute to brain changes that affect memory, attention, and other cognitive functions.
  • Dental issues: Diabetes increases the risk of gum disease, cavities, and other oral health problems. High blood sugar levels can weaken the body's ability to fight off bacteria in the mouth, leading to inflammation, infection, and tooth loss if left untreated.

Why make a medical negligence claim?

Unfortunately, there are a number of people who do not receive the care they require . If left unmanaged or untreated, type 2 can lead to avoidable harm and injury.

In some instances, where negligence has occurred, there may be cause for a medical negligence claim.   

For example, where there has been:

  • A delay in diagnosis: leaving diabetes unchecked and untreated can increase the risk of serious complications, such as stroke, heart attack and kidney problems.
  • Poor care and management: medical professionals failing to act on diabetes complications.

If a person with develops complications of diabetes, such as problems with their feet causing restricted blood flow, early intervention is crucial. Without proper care and management irreversible damage to the foot can occur, leading to amputation.

Other complications include retinopathy, an eye disease, which if not picked up early can lead to permanent loss of vision. Early recognition and referral to the appropriate medical professionals is crucial.

Failure to recognise and act on the symptoms of Diabetic Ketoacidosis (DKA) : although most common in people with type 1 diabetes, DKA can also affect those with type 2 diabetes. It is essential symptoms are identified early, so blood glucose can be controlled to prevent complications, which in extreme situations can lead to permanent organ damage and death.

Can type 2 diabetes be prevented?

Type 2 is a largely preventable condition, with lifestyle factors playing a significant role in its development. Poor diet, sedentary lifestyle, obesity, and other risk factors contribute to the increasing prevalence of this disease. Moreover, the economic burden of managing type 2 is immense, with healthcare costs escalating each year. Prevention, therefore, not only benefits individuals by reducing their risk of developing the condition but also alleviates the strain on healthcare resources.

To effectively combat type 2 diabetes, the government must take proactive measures to promote prevention strategies.

The Healthier You National Diabetes Prevention Programme , a collaboration between Diabetes UK , NHS England , and Public Health England , aims to support individuals at high risk of type 2 diabetes. This nationwide initiative provides personalized assistance to help participants attain a healthy weight, enhance their dietary habits, and increase physical activity, ultimately reducing their susceptibility to the condition.

Launching extensive public awareness campaigns is crucial to educate individuals about the risk factors associated with Type 2 and emphasise the significance of adopting a healthy lifestyle. These campaigns should target diverse age groups and socio-economic backgrounds to ensure broad outreach and impact.

UK is actively advocating for increased support for individuals at high risk of type 2 diabetes. Through partnerships with NHS England and Public Health England, initiatives like the NHS Prevention Programme aim to assist thousands in mitigating their risk, potentially delaying or preventing the onset of type 2 diabetes. Similar efforts are encouraged nationwide.

Collaborating with the Obesity Health Alliance, Diabetes UK is engaged in comprehensive strategies to address obesity and the escalating incidence of type 2 across the UK. These efforts involve advocating for dietary changes to reduce salt, sugar, and saturated fat consumption, regulating the marketing of unhealthy foods to children, and implementing measures like the sugar tax introduced in 2018.

Investing in initiatives that promote physical activity and encourage its integration into daily routines is essential. This includes funding community sports programs, enhancing access to recreational facilities, and creating safe outdoor spaces conducive to physical activity.

How can Switalskis help?

If you think you have received poor medical treatment relating to the diagnosis or management of type 2 and have suffered complications as a result, you may have a medical negligence claim. At Switalskis, we support clients and families where they have been impacted by poor care which has led to avoidable harm and injuries, including death.

If you feel that this applies to you or anyone you know, please reach out and make contact with us so that we can begin to support you. Call 0800 138 0458 or email

About Type 2 Diabetes Prevention Week

This year, Type 2 Prevention Week takes place from 20-26 May.

The campaign by Diabetes UK aims to raise awareness about the risk of Type 2 and how to prevent it, encouraging the public to check their risk through their Know Your Risk tool . It also promotes healthy lifestyle changes to manage weight and increase physical activity.

Research from UK suggests that more than 4 million people are living with in the UK and that 90% of these diagnoses are of Type 2 diabetes.

There are also another 13.6 million people in the UK at increased risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.

A lot of people don’t get any signs or symptoms of Type 2 or they don’t notice them but there are a wide range listed on the NHS website to be aware of.





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Lindsay has worked in the legal sector for 12 years. She is a Solicitor in our Medical Negligence team.


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