Health chief speaks out during Diabetes Week in Milton Keynes
Almost 14,000 people are living with diabetes in Milton Keynes - and many of them could have prevented or delayed the illness, health chiefs have announced.
This week is Diabetes Week, and CCG chair Dr Nicola Smith is aiming to raise awareness and support people and their families to manage the condition.
She said: “In Milton Keynes there are 13,971 people who have been diagnosed and are living with diabetes, and it is thought that more than half of all cases of Type 2 diabetes could be prevented or delayed with the early identification of people at risk of developing it in the future. It is vital that we raise awareness and support people and their families to manage their condition.
Diabetes is a lifelong condition and currently affects around 3.7 million people in the UK. There are also a further 1 million people living with Type 2 diabetes which is undiagnosed, so Dr Smith says it is important for everyone to know as much about the condition as possible.
Type 1 diabetes is a condition where your blood glucose level is too high because your body can't make a hormone called insulin. Insulin allows the glucose in our blood to enter our cells and fuel our bodies. When you have Type 1 diabetes, your body still breaks down the carbohydrate from food and drink and turns it into glucose (sugar). But when the glucose enters your bloodstream, there's no insulin to allow it into your body's cells. More and more glucose builds up in your bloodstream and if not managed properly, can lead to severe complications such as cardiovascular disease, kidney failure and blindness.
Type 2 diabetes is a condition where the insulin your pancreas makes can’t work properly, or your pancreas can’t make enough insulin. When you have Type 2 diabetes, your body still breaks down carbohydrate from your food and drink and turns it into glucose. The pancreas responds to this by releasing insulin. But because this insulin can’t work properly, blood glucose (also called sugar) levels keep rising so more insulin is released.
For some people with Type 2 diabetes this can eventually tire the pancreas out, meaning their body makes less and less insulin. This causes even higher blood sugar levels and can also lead to severe complications.
Dr Smith said: “Diabetes Week is not just about raising awareness though it’s also about understanding how it feels to live with it. The theme of this year’s Diabetes Week is to ‘See Diabetes Differently’ as everyone is different, and we want everyone to see diabetes differently. Having an understanding of diabetes is key to helping people live better, and that’s why we are celebrating Diabetes Week all week and by sharing the Diabetes UK ‘Five Facts of Diabetes’ to help reach as many people as possible.”
The five facts are:
· One in 15 of us live with diabetes
· There are different types
· Anyone can get it
· It’s not just tablets or injections
· It never stops, but you don’t have to either.
Members of the local peer support group, Diabetes-UK-Milton Keynes, are going into three organisations that are based in Milton Keynes – AXA, Open University and Volkswagen – to focus on ‘workplace health’ carrying out ‘Are you At Risk’ assessments.
If your organisation would like Diabetes-UK-Milton Keynes visit your workplace, please contact [email protected] or telephone Corinne on 07964 161 792, or Jim on 01908 661 039.