Diabetes: are you in the know?

Around 4,500 people will have been diagnosed with diabetes during Diabetes Week in 2016, claims Diabetes UK. Highlighting the scale of the diabetes epidemic, the charity points out that almost a quarter of a million people were diagnosed with diabetes within the last year.

New research released by Diabetes UK also shows that many people don’t recognise the seriousness of diabetes. Just over half of those questioned didn’t realise that not managing the condition effectively can lead to often devastating complications, such as heart attack and strokes. One in three also incorrectly thought that Type 1 diabetes is linked to being overweight – which suggests many people still don’t know the facts about the condition.

“There is still a lack of understanding when it comes to people being aware of the seriousness of diabetes, and this worries us at Diabetes UK,” said Diabetes UK chief executive Chris Askew at the start of Diabetes Week.

“There are over four million people living with the condition in the UK. The fact that 4,500 people will discover they have diabetes over the next seven days is deeply concerning, and highlights the current scale of the crisis.”

This lack of understanding could, says the charity, lead to people making false assumptions about diabetes. It is therefore urging everyone to learn about the signs and symptoms of diabetes, especially as Type 2 diabetes can take up to 10 years to be diagnosed (unlike Type 1, where symptoms tend to come on rapidly).

Know your symptoms

According to the NHS, the following are the main symptoms of diabetes:

  • Feeling very thirsty
  • Urinating more than usual, particularly at night
  • Feeling very tired
  • Weight loss and loss of muscle
  • Itching around the penis or vagina, or frequent episodes of thrush
  • Cuts or wounds that heal slowly
  • Blurred vision

If any or all of these symptoms develop quickly (in a few weeks or even days), it could be a sign that you have Type 1 diabetes. On the other hand, the symptoms of Type 2 diabetes can develop over a much longer period, and many people with Type 2 diabetes have it for years without realising, the NHS claims.

Many Careway pharmacies offer Type 2 diabetes screening, which consists of a quick and easy finger prick blood test. Don’t forget you can speak to your local pharmacist about any health concerns you may have, including how to reduce your risk of diabetes by adopting a healthy lifestyle.

Find your nearest participating Careway pharmacy by using our Pharmacy Finder.