GPs in North Kirklees and Greater Huddersfield are urging local people to get behind the Diabetes UK National Diabetes Week, which runs from 12 June to 18 June.
With 3.5 million people diagnosed in the UK and a further 549,000 who have the condition but don’t yet know it, most of us know a friend or family member living with diabetes. And yet it’s still hugely misunderstood, and there are so many myths and misconceptions out there that this year, the theme is Setting the record straight.
Diabetes is one of the biggest health challenges facing people living in the UK. When diabetes is not well managed it can lead to serious complications including heart disease, stroke, blindness, kidney disease, nerve damage and amputations. Those who smoke are especially at risk of complications so trying to quit is vital.
There are two main types of diabetes. Type 1 diabetes develops when the body stops making insulin and usually appears before the age of 40. It is the less common type – only around 10% of people with diabetes have type 1. People diagnosed with type 1 diabetes require regular insulin injections to keep their glucose levels normal.
Type 2 diabetes develops when the insulin-producing cells in the body are unable to produce enough insulin, or when the insulin that is produced does not work properly (known as insulin resistance). Type 2 diabetes usually appears in people over the age of 40, though in South Asian people, who are at greater risk, it often appears from the age of 25. It is also increasingly becoming more common in children, adolescents and young people of all ethnicities.
Type 2 diabetes accounts for around 90% of all people with diabetes and is treated with a healthy diet and increased physical activity. In addition to this, medication and/or insulin are often required.
Dr Nadeem Ghafoor, a local GP and member of the NHS North Kirklees Clinical Group (CCG) Governing Body said: “To reduce your risk of developing diabetes, the best thing you can do is to eat healthily and to increase the amount of physical activity you do. Small changes to your lifestyle can make a big difference.”
Dr Amjid Rehman, the NHS Greater Huddersfield CCG clinical lead for diabetes, said: “It is really important for people diagnosed with type 2 diabetes to take steps to help manage their condition. Reducing the amount of sugary and fatty foods they eat, eating smaller portions and increasing the amount of exercise they do in a way that their doctor has approved can significantly help control diabetes and reduce the risk of complications.”
There are a number of symptoms which can indicate the onset of type 2 diabetes, including feeling thirsty, urinating more frequently than usual – particularly at night, feeling very tired, weight loss, cuts or wounds that heal slowly and blurred vision (caused by the lens of the eye becoming dry).
Knowing the facts about diabetes is important when it comes to managing the condition. There is so much information out there, but it is not all true. It is often difficult to know what is right and what is not. A dedicated section on the Diabetes UK website to dispel some of the most common myths and can be found here www.diabetes.org.uk/Guide-to-diabetes/What-is-diabetes/Myths-and-FAQs