October 9, 2008

Public Warned of ‘Silent Assassin’ That is Diabetes

A health campaign is launched today to warn people against the "silent assassin" which costs the South West NHS pounds1.8 million a day.

Diabetes UK has published a report which says one in 10 people in hospital across the UK have the condition, putting a massive strain on public resources.

The charity's campaign - Diabetes: Beware the silent assassin - tells people at risk of developing the disease to make urgent changes to their lifestyle.

Jan Tyrrell, manager of Diabetes UK South West, said: "It really is a silent assassin - around 60,000 people in the South West 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."

The number of people with diabetes is rising dramatically. There are 250,000 people with the condition (diagnosed and undiagnosed) in the South West and it is estimated that there will be 365,000 people with diabetes by 2025.

The condition comes in two forms - Type 1 and Type 2, both caused by a surplus of glucose in the body.

Type 1 is the least common and develops when the body is unable to produce any insulin to help the body absorb glucose.

Type 2 is usually linked to people who are overweight, which causes problems with the insulin supply.

The report reveals one in 10 people in hospital in the UK have diabetes and 60 per cent of inpatients with diabetes have been admitted as emergencies.

Ms Tyrrell said: "Diabetes causes heart disease, stroke, amputations, kidney failure and blindness, and causes more deaths than breast and prostate cancer combined. Type 2 diabetes can remain undetected for 10 years or more before someone is diagnosed."

Diabetes UK wants people with either form of diabetes to have access to appropriate care, support and education to help them manage their condition.

Jackie Herbert, 57, from Newton Ferrers near Plymouth, was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes five years ago. She said getting the condition was not a death sentence.

"I had the classic symptoms of wanting to drink water and peeing all the time," she said. "The most important thing is to see a doctor as soon as possible.

"I was a overweight at 14 stone but suddenly the weight started to fall off. I've cut out a lot of the fatty foods as a result but life is for living and I still enjoy a drink every now and then.

"Providing you are good and do as the doctor says then you can lead a perfectly happy and healthy life."

The campaign messages will run through a series of UK-wide posters as well as newspaper ads from October 2008.

For more details, visit www.diabetes. org.uk

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