Diabetes injections could be used to prevent condition

People with high blood sugar levels could benefit from a new type of medication if the national licensing body for the UK approves it for use.

Currently around 10% of people in Guernsey with type 2 diabetes use semaglutide injections, which, combined with diet and exercise, help control blood sugar.

The injections are self-administered and contain a hormone which activates the pancreas to release more insulin, lowering blood sugar level. They also suppress appetite, effectively telling the brain that you are fuller for longer.

NICE (National Institute for Health and Care Excellence) will decide whether the drug can be used for certain groups of people with high blood sugar levels who could be at risk of developing full-blown diabetes.

There are two main types of diabetes, type one and type two.

  • Type one is genetic, the risk factors are unknown and it can only be managed by taking insulin.

  • Type two's leading risk factor is obesity but alongside good diet and exercise, it can also be managed with medication.

David Ceresa was diagnosed with type two diabetes 15-years-ago following a seizure.

Credit: ITV Channel TV

"It was a bit of a torrid time because one of the problems that you get with diabetes is the thirst - you are always wanting to drink lots and that was the major sign for me that something wasn't right." Richard Holt, Professor of Diabetes and Endocrinology, Southampton University says: "Obesity is one of the major risk factors for type two diabetes and it's estimated that if we could suddenly wave a magic wand and get rid of obesity across the country that around three-million people around the country that have type two diabetes would not have type two diabetes." Approximately 3,000 people in Guernsey and 5,000 in Jersey are living with type two diabetes and it is thought there are many more who remain undiagnosed. Symptoms include:

  • Thirst

  • Tiredness

  • A need to go to the toilet regularly.

If it goes untreated, it can lead to a higher risk of heart attacks and strokes, kidney failure and blindness. The ruling on the introduction of semaglutide injections in Guernsey is expected in the this week.

For people like David, it's been a game changer. "I feel just generally far more energised. Generally feeling just a lot better about myself." If the ruling is changed, it could be prescribed to more people in the islands at an earlier stage, helping to reduce their chances of developing type two diabetes. There is no confirmation as yet when Jersey authorities might follow.