October 8, 2008

Diabetes is Country’s Silent Assassin, Charity Report Warns

By Emma Brady

Diabetes is set to become one of the biggest health challenges in the West Midlands according to a new report published today The condition already accounts for nearly ten per cent of NHS regional spending.

Almost pounds 2 million is spent on diabetes and its complications but with the number of new cases set to mushroom from 275,000 to 402,000 by 2025, Diabetes UK is urging people in at risk groups to make urgent changes to their lifestyle.

The charity's report, Diabetes: Beware the silent assassin, states it can be ten years before some cases of Type 2 diabetes are diagnosed, by which time complications have often developed.

It is thought that about 50,000 people in the West Midlands are diabetic but remain unaware of their condition despite the fact it is the root cause of more deaths than some forms of cancer.

Nationally about 2.3 million people have been diagnosed with the chronic condition, but an estimated half a million people also have diabetes but are unaware of it.

Peter Shorrick, Diabetes UK's regional manager, said: "Diabetes causes heart disease, stroke, amputations, kidney failure and blindness and causes more deaths than breast and prostate cancer combined.

"It really is a silent assassin - around 50,000 people in the West Midlands have the condition but do not even know it and by the time they are diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes 50 per cent of people are found to have started developing complications."

"There is still a worrying lack of awareness about diabetes, its risk factors and the simple steps people can take to reduce their risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.

"In many cases the number of deaths caused by diabetes is still under-reported: the death certificate will say heart attack but it was really diabetes. We want to prevent thousands of people from facing a future of ill-health and reduced life-expectancy."

For more information about diabetes, its dangers and symptoms, visit www.diabetes.org.uk/SilentAssassin or call the Diabetes UK Careline on 0845 120 2960 for information and support, on weekdays between 9am and 5pm.

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