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Gloucestershire student raises awareness for diabetes

The current cost of direct patient care for those living with diabetes is estimated to be £9.8bn Photo: ITV

A student from Gloucester is lobbying the Government today to provide more funds to find a cure for type 1 diabetes. Elizabeth Sheils was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes when she was just five.

She says although the government committed to spend £51m on diabetes research in 2009 only £6m of that was ringfenced for research into type one diabetes.

As part of this campaign Elizabeth, who is studying psychology, will join 60 other adults and children with diabetes at the Houses of Parliament.

Elizabeth manages her type 1 diabetes by wearing a pump that administers insulin into her body to stabilise her blood sugar levels.

She has to have annual checks on her blood, eyes and feet and carries medical equipment with her at all times.

Elizabeth has to carry medical equipment with her at all times Credit: ITV West

*BACKGROUND *

At the moment there are around 3.8 million people living with diabetes in the UK. By 2035 the figure is expected to increase to 6.25 million.

The current cost of direct patient care for those living with diabetes is estimated to be 9.8 billion pounds.

£1 billion for Type 1 diabetes and £8.8 billion for Type 2.

The current indirect costs associated with diabetes , such as those related to increased deaths and illness, work loss and the need for informal care are estimated at 13.9 billion.

In addition it's estimated there are 850,000 people in the UK who have diabetes and have not been diagnosed.

By 2035 it's estiamted the direct cost of care for diabetes patients will rise to 16.9 billion.

1.8 billion for Type 1 diabetes, £15.1 for Type 2.

(SOURCE: York Health Econimic consortium.)

Type 1 diabetes develops when the body's immune system attacks and destroys the cells that produce insulin Credit: ITV West

Type 1 diabetes develops when the body's immune system attacks and destroys the cells that produce insulin. As a result the body is unable to produce insulin and this leads to increased blood glucose levels, which in turn can cause serious damage to all organ systems in the body.

Nobody knows for sure why these insulin-producing cells have been destroyed but the most likely cause is the body having an abnormal reaction to the cells. This may be triggered by a virus or other infection. Type 1 diabetes can develop at any age but usually appears before the age of 40, and especially in childhood.

Type 1 diabetes accounts for between 5 and 15% of all people with diabetes and is treated by daily insulin injections, a healthy diet and regular physical activity.

(Source Diabetes UK)