August 13, 2008

Lifestyle Change Needed to Stem Tide of Diabetes


ONE in nine deaths in Merseyside and Cheshire can be attributed to diabetes, according to research from a leading charity.

The new figures, compiled by Diabetes UK, shows over 11% of deaths among 20 to 79-year-olds in the area in 2005 were because of the disease.

The data also shows adults under 80 with diabetes are around twice as likely to die as those without the condition, and women with diabetes have a greater increased risk of death compared to their male counterparts.

The highest rate in Merseyside and Cheshire was in Knowsley, where the death rate was 12.84%, and the lowest Warrington with a rate of 10.42%.

Barrie Morgan, 63, from Brighton Le Sands, is trying to encourage fellow sufferers to take medical advice and try to lead a healthy lifestyle to reduce the numbers of deaths.

The South Sefton Diabetes group member said: "I would say these figures are conservative, because often death certificates state a person has passed away from cardiovascular disease, but does not assess whether diabetes was the reason.

"I was diagnosed in 1995 with Type Two diabetes and now suffer from complications. We really do need to encourage people diagnosed with the condition to lead healthier lifestyles to reduce the risk of complications and in the end death." By using a method that combines data from previous research studies and estimates of diabetes prevalence with population and mortality data, Diabetes UK says the research provides a more accurate picture of the number of deaths attributable to diabetes, than from routine sources which often fail to identify diabetes.

Diabetes can be fatal in a number of ways. Around 80% of people with the condition die of cardiovascular disease and the condition is also the main cause of end stage renal failure - an irreversible decline in kidney function.

Julie Byron, Diabetes UK North West regional manager, said: "These new figures are truly alarming, and confirm that diabetes is one of the biggest health challenges facing the UK today. There are already 280,000 people diagnosed with diabetes in the North West and around 65,000 people who have the condition but are not aware of it.

"Good self-management, awareness, and improved access to specialist diabetes care services are crucial if we are to curb this growing health crisis and see a reduction in the number of people dying from diabetes and complications."

FOR further information about diabetes, visit OPINION: PAGE 10

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