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  1. ITV Report

Menkind: Diabetes facts, symptoms and advice

Diabetes is diagnosed by a blood test. Credit: PA Images

Here at ITV News Anglia, we are supporting the Menkind initiative. In this months edition, we are putting diabetes into the spotlight.

What is diabetes?

Diabetes is a disease where the amount of glucose (sugar) in the blood is too high. There are two main types of diabetes – type 1 and type 2.

Diabetes in Norfolk

It is estimated that in Norfolk around 68,991 people aged 16 and over, or 9.3% of the population, have diabetes (either type I or type II, diagnosed or undiagnosed).

  • Diabetes UK report that middle aged men are twice as likely to have diabetes and that, consistently, more men are overweight than women, and so at greater risk of type 2 diabetes.
  • Research also shows that men are twice as likely to not know they have a type 2 diabetes than women.
  • The way we live today is putting more people at risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

Risk factors for type 2 diabetes

You are more at risk of developing type II diabetes if:

  • Age: The older you are, the more at risk you are.
  • Family history: You are two to six times more likely to get Type 2 diabetes if you have a parent, brother, sister or child with diabetes.
  • Ethnicity: You are more likely to get Type 2 diabetes if you are Chinese, South Asian, African-Caribbean or Black-African.
  • Weight:
  • Blood pressure: You are more at risk if you have ever had high blood pressure.
You are more at risk if you are overweight, especially if you are large around the middle. Credit: PA Images

Type 1 diabetes is a lifelong condition that occurs when the blood glucose level is too high because the body cannot produce any insulin at all. People with type 1 diabetes are usually (though not always) diagnosed under 40, with the peak age for diagnosis between the ages of 10 – 14 years. Type I diabetes is not related to lifestyle issues and cannot be prevented or cured but can be treated. Only about 10% of people with diabetes have type I diabetes.

Type 2 diabetes is associated with lifestyle factors and develops when the body stops producing enough insulin or the body’s cells stop reacting to the insulin produced. Type 2 diabetes can develop slowly, usually over the age of 40. About 90% of people with diabetes have type 2. Being overweight or obese is the major risk factor for Type 2 diabetes. The onset of Type 2 diabetes can be delayed or prevented, and type 2 diabetes can usually be controlled and even reversed using diet, exercise and medication.

Reducing your Risk of type 2 diabetes

  • Being physically active and reducing time spent sitting can reduce your chances of developing Type 2 diabetes by as much as 40%.
  • Taking regular exercise helps to lower blood pressure and manage weight, which all help cut the risk of developing diabetes.
  • Finding ways to incorporate activity into your day, from simple things like taking the stairs where possible, brisk walking, through to taking up aerobic and strength building exercises, can make a real difference.

Symptoms of diabetes include:

  • urinating more than usual, particularly at night
  • feeling thirsty all the time
  • feeling very tired
  • losing weight without trying to
  • itching around your penis or vagina, or repeatedly getting thrush
  • cuts or wounds taking longer to heal
  • blurred vision

Diagnoses

  • Diabetes is diagnosed by a blood test.
Diabetes is a disease where the amount of glucose (sugar) in the blood is too high. Credit: PA Images

Call to Action

  • You can self-check on the diabetes risk website.
  • If you have symptoms make an appointment with your GP.
  • If you have been offered an NHS Health Check take up the appointment – your risk of diabetes will be assessed there.

Living with diabetes

Both type 1 and type 2 diabetes are serious diseases which without proper management can damage the heart, eyes, feet, kidneys and increase the risk of sexual dysfunction. Poorly managed diabetes can reduce a person’s quality of life and life expectancy.

Managing diabetes can be challenging and can only be achieved through working closely with your health care team. Diabetes UK offer advice on taking control of your diabetes that includes:

  • Getting the information you need to manage your diabetes confidently, from your healthcare team and from trusted websites like Diabetes UK.
  • Recognising your role in managing your diabetes on a day to day basis.
  • Giving accurate information about your health and how you are feeling to your healthcare team.
  • Make healthy food choices, following the advice of your healthcare team.
  • Drink alcohol sensibly, keeping to a maximum of 14 units a week.
  • Keep moving – being physically active goes hand in hand with healthy eating. Aim for 150 minutes of moderate intensity activity a week.

If you or anyone you know is affected by diabetes here is a selection of websites that offer help and support:

The National Diabetes Prevention Programme

The National Diabetes Prevention Programme (NDPP) is an evidence-based diabetes prevention programme.

It provides a behavioural intervention for people identified as having non-diabetic hyperglycaemia and are at high risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.

The programme is available throughout Norfolk and Waveney and has received over 5000 referrals from its initial implementation in 2016.

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