Diabetes is showing no signs of slowing down

Diabetes is rapidly on the increase in the UK and causing 70,000 deaths per year.

 

3.2 million People in the UK have Diabetes and an estimated 630,000 people have the condition but do not know they have it.  Between 70 and 75,000 people with Diabetes die every year in the UK, because their condition is not being managed properly.    Diabetes is on the increase and if it is not identified earlier and managed properly, the number of people dying from Diabetes will continue to increase.  Women between the ages of 15 and 34 are 9 times more likely to die than other women without the condition.  Men of the same age are four times more likely to die of the condition, over men of the same age without the condition.

 

In 2014, the UK saw the biggest increase in people being diagnosed with Diabetes and this was the highest increase since 2008.  With one in seventeen people being diagnosed with this life-long and often debilitating condition, it is vitally important that we are fully aware of the signs and symptoms of Diabetes, as a very simple blood and urinalysis test can diagnose the condition quickly.

 

So what is Diabetes;  Diabetes is a condition where the amount of glucose in your blood is too high because the body cannot use it properly. 
This is because the pancreas doesn’t produce any insulin, or not enough insulin, to help glucose enter your body’s cells – or the insulin that is produced does not work properly (known as insulin resistance).

 

There are 2 types of Diabetes; Type 1 and Type 2.  Type 1 Diabetics need to control their Diabetes by using insulin injections or a pump.  Type 2 Diabetics do not always have to use insulin and can control their Diabetes with diet and/or medication in the form of tablets.   Insulin is a hormone made by an organ in the body called the pancreas. The pancreas lies just behind the stomach. The function of insulin is to help our bodies use glucose for energy.   Everyone with Type 1 diabetes, and some people with Type 2 diabetes, needs to take insulin to control their blood glucose levels.

 

Signs and symptoms of Diabetes include the following;

 

 

Numbness

Due to an increase in blood sugar levels,  blood flow is restricted to the extremities and numbness and tingling are one of the first signs of Diabetes.

Increased urination - Polyuria

Going to the toilet and passing large amounts of urine regularly, is a significant symptom in both Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes.  It can lead to dehydration and kidney disease.

Rapid weight loss

When the body cannot get enough insulin for energy, it starts to burn off fat and this can lead to rapid weight loss. If you lose between 10 and 20 pounds in weight, unintentionally, within a 3 month period, get a health check for Diabetes.

Thirst

Due to the high urine output, thirst is very common and dehydration can cause kidney failure.  The breath can smell of pear drops.

Hunger

Excessive pangs of hunger,  can come from sharp peaks and lows in blood sugar levels. 
When blood sugar levels plummet, the body thinks it hasn't been fed and craves more of the glucose that cells need to function.

Skin problems

 

Acanthosis Nigricans is a darkening of the skin around the neck or armpit area.  Dr. Collazo-Clavell says. "People who have this already have an insulin resistance process occurring even though their blood sugar might not be high.   Itchy skin, perhaps the result of dry skin or poor circulation, can often be a warning sign of diabetes.

Slow Healing

This is a common sign of Diabetes, because the damaged blood vessels, caused by excessive sugar in the blood, are unable to provide enough blood to the wound to promote healing.

Yeast Infections

Fungi and bacteria thrive in sugar loaded environments.  This means someone with diabetes is susceptible to developing infections and candida, in particular.

Fatigue and irritability

Getting up to go to the bathroom several times during the night will make anyone tired, as will the extra effort your body is expending to compensate for its glucose deficiency.

Blurred Vision

When the glucose in the blood is high, it changes the shape of the lens in the eye. This causes blurred vision and flashing lights.  As long as the blood sugar level is normalised, the blurred vision and flashing lights can be reversed.  If the blood glucose level remains high, permanent damage and even blindness can occur.

 

 

So if you don’t currently have Diabetes, the good news is that we can all make small changes in our lifestyle, to prevent developing the condition.  There are some factors that cannot be changed, such as age, ethnic background or family history; however, the things that can be changed include weight, dietary intake and exercise.  Taking a diet high in fruit, vegetables, fish and unsaturated fats, will contribute to preventing the development of diabetes and increasing your exercise regime will contribute to maintaining a healthy weight.  If you are concerned about Diabetes, do not hesitate to contact your GP, or go to the DiabetesUK website.  Alternatively, contact Solihull Health Check Clinic on 0121 745 7400 and speak to a Clinician.

 

 


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