THOUSANDS of diabetes sufferers in Yorkshire are putting their health at risk by not taking their medication.

The Diabetes UK charity has revealed that 55,000 people in the region with Type 2 diabetes are not taking their tablets.

As a result they are putting themselves at risk of heart disease, blindness, kidney failure and other long-term problems.

Some 170,000 people in Yorkshire are prescribed medication for Type 2 diabetes.

Diabetes occurs when the level of sugar in the blood becomes higher than normal because of a lack of insulin.

Type 2 is less serious than Type 1. It usually occurs in people over 40 and can often be managed by controlling diet, weight and exercise.

Sometimes tablets are required and, in fewer cases, insulin injections.

Research by Diabetes UK showed that people had different reasons for not taking their tablets.

Some did not understand what they were for, or whether there were any long-term benefits or effects.

They were reluctant to ask their doctor or nurse.

Some patients are prescribed many different tablets for conditions and struggle to remember to take them all.

Linda Wood, Diabetes UK’s northern and Yorkshire manager, said: “It is a tragedy that such a high proportion of people are not taking their prescribed medication.

“Many people struggle to realise the importance of taking their medicines, especially if the consequences are not immediately apparent.

“But damage caused is irreparable.”

She said better communication between healthcare workers and patients was the key to solving the problem.

She added: “Diabetes UK is working with healthcare professionals and diabetes communities to encourage and support people with the condition to ask questions and be more involved in their healthcare through care planning.’’

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