The prevalence of diabetes is now almost three times higher than the occurrence of all cancers combined. Diabetes is one of the biggest health challenges facing the UK today, writes Olivia Beaty
Diabetes is a condition that results in a person’s blood sugar level to become too high. There are two types: Type One, where the body’s immune system attacks and destroys the cells that produce insulin, and Type Two where the body doesn’t produce enough insulin or the cells don’t react to the insulin. Type Two is more common and in the UK around 90 per cent of all adults with diabetes have Type Two.
Both types require active management and monitoring to avoid acute and life threatening complications. By 2025 it is estimated that five million people in the UK will have diabetes, this is equivalent to a growth rate of more than 400 people every day.
Earlier this month in an aim to educate the nation, BBC One’s Panorama aired ‘Diabetes The Hidden Killer.’ Diabetics told viewers about their chocolate dominated diets and non-existent exercise regimes. As a result of this, patients were shown having limbs removed and having part of their stomach removed in order to have a gastric band fitted. However, if a healthier lifestyle is maintained these drastic measures need not happen.
Obesity is the most potent risk factor for Type Two accounting for up to 90 per cent of the overall risk. In the UK 62 per cent of women are overweight and 66 per cent of men. Recently we have seen an increase in diabetic children. Based on statistics from 2010, one in three children in year six of schooling were overweight. According to BBC’s Panorama, before the year 2000 there was no record of children in the UK with diabetes. Today there are approximately 30,000 children and young people with diabetes.
The figures are extremely alarming. In 2014, 10 per cent of the NHS budget was spent on diabetes management, a staggering £192 million a week. One in four people admitted to hospital with heart failure, heart attack or stroke have diabetes.
“Diabetes is less of a science and more an art of balancing food intake, activity and insulin; too much or too little can cause blood glucose levels to go too high or too low,” says Darren Carter, founder of Diabetes Dynamics. Education is key with this disease, managing Type One diabetes is incredibly difficult, but if individuals learn how maintain their condition, life is not restricted. For people at high risk of Type Two, such as individuals with a family history of the disease and people of a south Asian, African or African-Caribbean origin, it’s important to recognise they are at risk and be supported to maintain a healthy lifestyle to prevent them attracting the disease. If the disease is a consequence of being overweight, in most cases, this can be reversed, better still, prevented.
Over 800,000 people with the disease are at risk of future complications such as cardiovascular, kidney and eye disease, limb amputations and neuropathy. In 2014 there were over 7,000 diabetes related amputations, costing the NHS one billion pounds, 80 per cent of these were preventable. Life expectancy is reduced significantly by an average of about 20 years for people with Type One, and up to 10 years for people with Type Two.
Reflect on your lifestyle now.
Diabetes Dynamics at Inspired Fitness
Units 10 & 10a Progress Business Park
Kirkham PR4 2TZ
07768 040 801