According to the leading health charity Diabetes UK, the number of individuals in the UK diagnosed with diabetes has risen by approximately 130,000 to 2.9 million in the past year. Almost a 50% increase since data on diabetes was first published by GPs in 2005 (2 million).
The increase is primarily in Type 2 diabetes cases, which is responsible for roughly 90% if all diagnoses. Even though Type 2 diabetes is prevalent among overweight individuals, the charity is urging individuals to be aware of other risk factors connected with the condition, such as a family history of the condition, having a large waist, people over 40, or being from Asian, Black or minority ethnic communities.
Diabetes UK recommends that individuals take their online Diabetes Risk Score test (http://www.diabetes.org.uk/riskscore) in order to find out their chances of developing the disease. Those who are at an increased risk can usually lower the risk or reverse it simply by losing weight, improving dietary habits, and increasing physical activity levels.
According to the charity the main risk factors include having a large waist, being overweight, people over 40 (or over 25 in South Asian and Black individuals) and having a close relative with the disease. At risk waist measurements 31.5 inches or more for all women, and 37 inches or more for men, apart from those of South Asian origin who are at risk at 35 inches or more.
Symptoms of diabetes include:
- Having to urinate frequently
- Losing weight for not apparent reason
- Being extremely tired
- Moodiness, irritability
- Being much more thirsty than usual
- Some vision problems, such as blurred vision
- Cuts and/or bruises take longer to heal
- Feet and/or hands may tingle (fingers and/or toes)
- Genital itching
- Regular episodes of thrush
Barbara Young, Diabetes UK Chief Executive, explained:
"The rate of increase of diabetes is growing with huge human cost and cost to the NHS. The Time for action is now. Whilst 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 vascular screening NHS Health Checks is critical in detecting early signs of Type 2 diabetes. Losing 10 percent of your weight reduces your chances of developing Type 2 diabetes by 50 percent.
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 percent of NHS spending goes on diabetes and its complications; this equates to £9 billion per year or £1 million an hour."
Written by: Grace Rattue