With European elections coming up in May 2019, you probably want to know how the European Union impacts your daily life, before you think about voting. In the latest in a series of posts on what Europe does for you, your family, your business and your wellbeing, we look at what Europe does for diabetes sufferers.
Have you had your blood sugar level checked lately? Did you know that a simple test can diagnose diabetes and spare you a lot of health problems, or even save your life? Diabetes is a chronic disease affecting over 33 million EU citizens, characterised by elevated levels of blood sugar that over time can cause serious damage to the heart, blood vessels, eyes, kidneys, and nerves. There are two main types of diabetes: type 1 results from a lack of insulin production and type 2 from the body’s ineffective use of insulin. Type 2 diabetes accounts for almost 90 % of diabetes cases and can often be prevented by a healthy lifestyle, regular physical activity and maintaining a normal body weight.
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EU countries are responsible for their own healthcare policies. The EU complements these policies, and focuses on prevention and research, in particular in the context of its work on non-communicable diseases. From 2007 to 2013, projects under the EU’s Seventh Framework Programme gave a big boost to diabetes research. The programme funded over 150 projects on diabetes, totalling €376 million. Under the current Horizon 2020 research programme, the EU is still supporting effective efforts to prevent the disease and treat patients. Recent examples include Feel4Diabetes, which is developing a community-based approach for families, because diabetes tends to recur in families with history of the disease. PAMperR involves research into diabetic retinopathy, POWER2DM aims to develop a system for diabetes patient empowerment, while ePREDICE focuses on early prevention of diabetes complications.
- EPRS publication on World Health Day on diabetes, 2016, http://www.europarl.europa.eu/thinktank/en/document.html?reference=EPRS_ATA(2016)580879
- European Commission’s website on diabetes, https://ec.europa.eu/research/health/index.cfm?pg=area&areaname=diabetes
- World Health Organization’s website on diabetes, http://www.who.int/diabetes/en/
- EPRS | European Parliamentary Research Service: www.epthinktank.eu