MORE than three quarters of carers for people with diabetes experience emotional or mental health problems, new figures show, as health bosses warn people to live a healthy lifestyle to avoid a series of health problems.

Research from Diabetes UK has found that – alongside those living with the condition – parents and carers of children and adults with diabetes experience emotional or mental health problems.

The online survey showed that 77 per cent of respondents said they sometimes or often feel down because of their family member’s diabetes.

One third of carers also wanted their family member to see more of a diabetes specialist nurse, while 11 per cent wanted a trained counsellor or psychologist to support the children or adults with diabetes they care for.

Wendy Buckham, 73, from Chester-le-Street joined the Durham Diabetes UK Group in 1977 shortly after her husband Joe was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes at the age of 34.

“For people with diabetes in the local area and their families, it helps to come and talk to others who know what it is like to live with diabetes and to get some peer support," she said.

“There are so many aspects to living with diabetes that can be scary for people, especially when you are newly diagnosed or are supporting a friend or family member with the condition.

"People often just want to talk to someone, especially if they understand what they might be going through. Living with a life-long condition like diabetes can often feel overwhelming so its important people feel supported.”

Dr Srikanth Mada, clinical lead for diabetes and endocrinology at CDDFT, said: “If type two diabetes is not managed properly, it can lead to a number of health problems, including heart disease, stroke and loss of feeling in your feet.

“You could even end up blind if you do not look after your blood sugar. The best way to avoid these complications is to control your blood sugar levels by living a healthy lifestyle.”

Clare Howarth, head of the North of England at Diabetes UK, said: “Diabetes doesn’t just affect the person living with condition; the impact is felt by everyone around them – a diagnosis will change a life."