20% of People with Diabetes are Undiagnosed
It is estimated that 20% of people with diabetes in the UK are undiagnosed. To help raise awareness and illustrate this serious issue, we’ve produced this useful infographic.
After recently being diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes, Hollywood actor Tom Hanks is coping well with the condition, which he describes as controllable. But with such hectic 21st century lifestyles, how can we spot the signs of diabetes and more importantly, how can we avoid it?
1 in 20 People Suffer from Diabetes
Diabetes is more common than you might think. In 2011 there were 366 million sufferers reported worldwide. According to Diabetes UK, this figure is predicted to rise to approximately 552 million sufferers within the next 20 years.
In the UK, 2.9 million people were diagnosed with diabetes in 2011, and by 2025 this is set to increase to 5 million. The vast majority of these cases are Type 2 diabetes, which can often be prevented by simply making changes to your diet and living a healthy lifestyle.
Drastic on-screen weight fluctuations will no doubt have made a big contribution to Hanks’s recent diagnosis. For the hit film Castaway the star lost 55 pounds, while for A League of Their Own he gained around 30 pounds.
Type 1 diabetes, where the body stops producing insulin, is also on the increase but scientists are uncertain as to why this might be.
Spotting the Signs of Diabetes
The onset of diabetes varies depending on the type of condition and the individual. However the initial signs are often associated with:
1. Excessive thirst: medically known as polydipsla, excessive thirst can be a sign you may have diabetes. This is commonly accompanied with temporary or prolonged dryness of the mouth and the need to urinate frequently. Getting thirsty is of course perfectly normal, but if this continues after youv’e had a drink, it may be due to high blood sugar levels caused by diabetes.
2. Blurred vision: this can occur in one or both eyes and describes the inability to see fine details. This can occur from simply not wearing your prescribed lenses, but is can also be a sign of high or low blood sugar levels as a result of diabetes.
3. Sleep deprivation: as well as making you irritable, sleep deprivation can also bring on diabetes. If you’re struggling to stay awake at work or on the train, there’s a good chance you’re sleep deprived. Along with staying active and eating healthily, its important to get the right amount of sleep. According to the National Sleep Foundation, adults require at least 7 -9 hours sleep per night.
4. Obesity: one of the main causes of Type 2 diabetes is obesity. This accounts for 80 – 85% of the overall risk of developing the condition. The NHS have reported that those with a BMI of 30 or greater are more likely to get Type 2 diabetes. A good way of discovering if you’re at risk of getting diabetes is to measure your waist.
- – Women with a waist measurement of 31.5 inches or more are at high risk of Type 2 diabetes.
- – Men with a waist measurement of 37 inches or more are also at high risk of developing this type of the condition.
Serious Health Impacts
As diabetes is a long-term health condition, it can increase the risk of other serious health problems. With the right treatment and a few lifestyle changes these complications can often be avoided.
- – Eye Complications: people with diabetes are at higher risk of blindness than those without the condition. Most sufferers only have minor eye problems, which can be monitored with regular check-ups.
- – High Blood Pressure: many sufferers have problems with high blood pressure, meaning their heart has to work harder. With a low blood pressure of 120 over 80 or below, youre less likely to have a heart attack or stroke. Its important that people with diabetes monitor their blood pressure. Leading a healthy lifestyle and receiving treatment can help prevent these issues.
- – Foot Problems: diabetes can also cause different foot problems. Nerve damage, changes to the shape of the feet and poor blood flow can lead to more serious complications, even resulting in amputation. However with regular care and comfortable footwear this can often be prevented.
- – Kidney Disease: many people with diabetes suffer from high blood sugar levels, which can over-work the kidneys and prevent them working as efficiently. Kidney problems can be prevented by keeping blood sugar levels in check. By recognising symptoms like loss of sleep, lack of appetite or stomach upsets early, treatment can be provided to prevent any serious kidney problems.
With regular monitoring, serious health problems can often be avoided. Keeping your diet healthy and exercising will help keep complications at bay. Giving up smoking is also one of the most effective ways of improving your health. If you notice any symptoms or have concerns about diabetes, it’s highly recommended you book an appointment with your GP.
How You Can Help
To help us raise awareness about the increase of diabetes we’d like to hear your stories. Perhaps you have diabetes yourself or your friend or family member has the condition? Tell us your experiences and offer tips on how to spot the signs and look after your health. Get in touch with our friendly team to help us with this campaign by taking part in a short interview and survey. We need your help.
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In Case of an Emergency
We have plenty of medical accessories, ID bands and alert jewellery designed especially for diabetes sufferers. With handy medication kit bags and compact storage devices for insulin injections, going about your everyday life with diabetes is so much easier. We also have diabetes identity cards for your wallet, comfy silicone ID bands, and stylish beaded jewellery which we can engrave with your details.