‘Learning they could lose a leg or go blind from the disease if they fail to look after their health might seem extreme, but it’s the truth,’ say obesity campaigners calling for diabetes risks to be taught in school
A record 4.7 million people in the UK are living with diabetes, and nearly a million are undiagnosed and unknowingly at risk of foot amputations and losing their vision, charities have warned.
The number of people diagnosed with some form of the condition rose by 6.8 per cent across the UK last year, to more than 3.8 million adults in total, another 900,000 are unaware they have the condition
One in ten Britons over 40 has type 2 diabetes, but it is increasingly being diagnosed in children and the charity said it expects more than 5.5 million people to have the condition by 2030.
People with undiagnosed type 2 diagnosis could be harming themselves with chronically high blood sugar.
“Early diagnosis means that fewer people will experience diabetes-related complications such as sight loss, amputation, kidney failure, stroke and heart disease, because they could seek support to manage their condition effectively as soon as possible.”
By the time they are diagnosed one in three diabetes sufferers already has some complications affecting their nerves, kidneys, feet or eyes.
With 12.3 million at people at risk of the condition, the charity says people should be aware of the early signs and risks. Weight is the biggest factor, but family history is also key, and people from African-Caribbean, Black-African and South Asian backgrounds have up to four times the risk.
Common symptoms include frequent urination, unplanned weight loss, constant thirst and tiredness, and some groups are calling for shock tactics to be used in school to make children aware of these risks.
“The age of diagnosis is tumbling and of the 5.5 million diagnoses projected for 2030, thousands will still be children and hundreds of thousands in their early twenties,” said Tam Fry, chair of the National Obesity forum.
He said this was “truly shocking” and diabetes should be taught in the new health curriculum which is set to be extended to cover topics like sexting and female genital mutilation (FGM).
“Telling them that they could lose a leg or go blind from the disease if they fail to look after their health might seem extreme but it’s the truth,” Mr Fry said.
Source – Independant.co.uk