CALLS to raise awareness of diabetes are underway after an increase in the numbers of people in Dorset diagnosed with the debilitating condition.
New analysis by Diabetes UK has revealed there are 574 more people with diabetes in Dorset since last year.
Figures show that just over 29,470 people in Dorset are now thought to have diabetes, a rise from almost 28,900 in 2012.
The West Dorset Diabetes Support Group together with diabetes sufferers throughout the county are now calling for residents to be more aware of the condition.
Henry Bartlett, chairman of the West Dorset Diabetes Support Group, said: “Diabetes is a growing problem for the NHS so raising awareness of the condition is crucial.
“More people are being diagnosed with diabetes, so we would encourage people to learn the types and symptoms of diabetes, as well as maintaining a healthy lifestyle and exercising.”
Preston resident Graham Sargent, 64, has diabetes and is also a member of the West Dorset Diabetes Support Group.
He said: “I was 12 when I got diabetes, which was really difficult. Luckily, today I have a great wife and sons who look after me and a good family life. More opportunities are becoming available for people with diabetes and knowledge about the condition is changing.
“West Dorset Support Group holds events to raise awareness, including raising money for Diabetes UK at the Tesco Dorchester store this weekend.
“Being a sufferer myself, I can emphasise how important knowledge of the types and symptoms of diabetes truly is.”
Littlemoor resident Shirley Stainer, 67, was diagnosed with diabetes in 2005. She said: “It’s a condition you learn to live with, but it’s essential for everyone to get regular risk checks and to learn the symptoms and types of diabetes. Family support and a healthy lifestyle are also both so important.”
Graham Cooper, Diabetes UK’s regional manager for the South West, said it’s alarming that the number of people with diabetes in Dorset has risen by so much in a year, and that addressing the situation needs to be one of the top health priorities in the area.
He added: “The increase in diabetes cases is mainly due to a sharp rise in Type 2 diabetes so we need to get much better at preventing cases of Type 2.
“A vital step towards this is to ensure that people realise how serious it is and understand their own personal risk, so if they are at high risk they can make lifestyle changes to help prevent it.
“If people are over 40, overweight, have a large waist, or have a family history of diabetes, they need to get a risk assessment as should people who are South Asian and over 25.”
Diabetes risk assessments can be done at a Tesco pharmacy, a GP surgery or online at www.diabetes.org.uk/risk8.
For more information on the West Dorset Support Group and Diabetes UK call 01202 842707.
Facts about the condition
- Diabetes is a condition where there is too much glucose in the blood. There is Type 1 and Type 2.
- Type 1 diabetes sufferers cannot produce insulin. About 10 per cent of people with diabetes have Type 1. There is no known cause, but it’s not to do with being overweight and isn’t currently preventable. It usually affects children or young adults. It starts suddenly and gets worse quickly.
- People with Type 2 diabetes don’t produce enough insulin or the insulin they produce doesn’t work properly. About 85 to 90 per cent of people with diabetes have Type 2. They might get Type 2 diabetes because of their family history or age and ethnic background, which puts them at increased risk. They are also more likely to get Type 2 diabetes if they are overweight. It starts gradually, usually later in life.
- Diabetes is the main cause of blindness in people and a major cause of lower limb amputation, kidney failure and stroke.
- Type 1 diabetes is treated by daily insulin doses – taken either by injections or via an insulin pump – a healthy diet and regular physical activity. Type 2 diabetes is treated with a healthy diet and increased physical activity. Tablets and insulin may also be required.