Diabetes on the increase

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THE number of people diagnosed with diabetes in the East of England has increased by more than 13,000 to 257,8351 in the past year, warns leading health charity Diabetes UK.

The rise is mainly in cases of Type 2 diabetes which accounts for around 90 per cent of all diagnoses. While Type 2 diabetes commonly develops in people who are overweight, Diabetes UK is urging people to be aware of the other risk factors associated with the condition which include having a large waist, being aged over 40, having a family history of the condition, or being from Black, Asian or minority ethnic communities.

Sharon Tillbrook, Eastern Regional Manager at Diabetes UK, said: “The rate of increase of diabetes is growing with huge human cost and cost to the NHS. The time for action is now. While rates of other serious conditions including many cancers, heart disease and stroke are steady or declining, the epidemic of diabetes continues to grow at even faster rates.

“Simple things can make a huge impact. The NHS Vascular Screening Health Checks is critical in detecting early signs of Type 2 diabetes. Losing 10 per cent of your weight reduces your chances of developing Type 2 diabetes by 50 per cent. Check your risk level online at www.diabetes.org.uk/riskscore

“We must reverse this trend if more people are not going to suffer unnecessarily and if diabetes is not going to bankrupt the NHS. Around 10 per cent of NHS spending goes on diabetes and its complications; this equates to £9 billion per year or £1 million an hour.”

Diabetes UK is encouraging people to go online and take its new Diabetes Risk Score test (www.diabetes.org.uk/ri

The symptoms of diabetes are going to the toilet (urinating) all the time especially at night, increased thirst, extreme tiredness, unexplained weight loss, genital itching or regular episodes of thrush, slow healing of cuts and wounds and blurred vision.

In Type 2 diabetes the signs and symptoms may not be obvious and the condition can go undetected for up to ten years meaning around half of people already show signs of complications by the time they are diagnosed. Symptoms are quickly relieved once diabetes is being treated and under control.