Norfolk diabetes expert urges people to seek help if they have symptoms of the condition
People living in Norfolk and Waveney are being urged to speak to their GP if they are concerned they might have symptoms of diabetes.
There are 2 main types of diabetes – type 1 and type 2, although there are also other less common forms of diabetes.
Type 2 diabetes is by far more common than type 1, and in the UK, around 90% of all adults with diabetes have type 2 diabetes. In Norfolk and Waveney around 81,000 people are living with diagnosed or undiagnosed diabetes and many more are likely to be at risk.
Dr Clare Hambling, NHS Norfolk and Waveney Clinical Commissioning Group’s (CCG) GP Clinical Lead for Diabetes, said: "It is essential that people with diabetes can access support and medical care, because over a long period of time, high blood sugar levels caused by diabetes increases the risk of heart disease, stroke and circulatory problems and can also lead to kidney damage or eye disease and this risk can be reduced with good diabetes care.”
Dr Hambling who is also Chair of the Primary Care Diabetes Society and a Diabetes UK Clinical Champion, said: “I’m aware that it has been a particularly anxious time for many people over recent months due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“Understandably, a lot of people have been worried about catching the virus and particularly following the news that some people with diabetes are at greater risk of serious illness due to Covid-19 infection.
“It has also been a time of loneliness and isolation, which might have been particularly difficult for those that have been shielding, but also because of the disruption to normal daily routine and loss of social contact and support.
“We know that people have been more cautious about seeking medical help or contacting their GP and so it’s important to reassure everyone that it is entirely appropriate to contact your GP or practice diabetes nurse or your specialist diabetes team if you are worried about your diabetes, or indeed, your general health and wellbeing.
"If you have any symptoms that may indicate you have diabetes, or if you are concerned that you may have risk factors – such as being overweight or obesity, family history, or your ethnic background increases your risk - please speak to your GP. A simple diagnosis can enable the condition to be detected and managed early, helping you avoid serious illness."
Dr Hambling’s comments come at the start of Diabetes Week which begins today, Monday 8 June. To help raise awareness of the condition, Diabetes UK is urging people to share their experiences and paint #TheBigPicture of life with diabetes.
Through sharing experiences via social media, the charity hopes to bring the diabetes community together, and show more people the reality of living with diabetes.
Type 2 diabetes risk factors:
- The older you are, the more at risk you are.
- Family history. You’re two to six times more likely to get Type 2 diabetes if you have a parent, brother, sister or child with diabetes
- Ethnicity. You’re more likely to get Type 2 diabetes if you’re Chinese, South Asian, African-Caribbean or Black-African
- Weight. You’re more at risk if you’re overweight, especially if you’re large around the middle
- Blood pressure. You’re more at risk if you’ve ever had high blood pressure.
Symptoms of type 2 diabetes include:
- Going to the toilet a lot, especially at night
- Being really thirsty
- Feeling more tired than usual
- Losing weight without trying to
- Genital itching or thrush
- Cuts and wounds take longer to heal
- Blurred vision
But commonly, particularly with type 2 diabetes, some people will have no symptoms at all.
Anyone can find out if they are at higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes by visiting www.diabetes.org.uk/knowyourrisk