Just in time for World Diabetes Day (November 14th), a new survey conducted by Merck and YouGov has found that there is a need to better educate people on the risk factors of type II diabetes.

The research revealed that more than half of the public are not aware the condition may be preventable, and that just under half are unaware of the steps that can be taken to prevent or delay the development of the condition.

Further insights showed almost half (46%) of respondents across all countries are either unaware (30%) or unsure (16%) that having a family member with diabetes increases the risk of developing the condition, and under a third (29%) believe signs and symptoms of early stage diabetes can be observed, whereas it normally has no signs and symptoms and can only be diagnosed with lab tests.

Merck says that the “alarming” results “demonstrate that more needs to be done to raise awareness of diabetes and its causes. With close to 700 million people predicted to develop type II diabetes by 2045, we need to act now to address prediabetes and help prevent a disease that can cause many long-term and permanent complications for people.”

In August the NHS announced the roll out of digital diabetes prevention as part of NHS Long Term Plan, providing ‘thousands’ of people at risk of Type II diabetes will receive digital support to prevent them developing the condition as part of the plan.

Additionally, the Diabetes Prevention Programme, which has already helped thousands of people lose a combined 132,000 pounds, will be doubled so that 200,000 people every year can access it. The NHS has also announced that it will trial very low calorie diets that can reverse Type II.

Francois Feig, head of general medicine & endocrinology continued, “We know that type II diabetes can, in many cases, be delayed or prevented, which is why it is crucial that we continue to educate people about the risk factors and the lifestyle changes that can really make a difference.”

Diabetes is one of the greatest public health problems facing the NHS and country, with almost four million people in England having Type II.

One in six hospital beds in England are occupied by someone with Type II diabetes, which leads to more than 9,000 amputations each year and the NHS spends more than £6 billion annually treating the condition and its complications.

Over 450 million people worldwide are currently living with diabetes and it is believed that one in two are undiagnosed. The majority of these cases are type II, which can be prevented or delayed through a number of lifestyle factors and medication.