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Symptoms to look out for as council chiefs prepare for type 2 diabetes prevention week

By Austen Shakespeare

People in Newcastle and Gateshead are being urged to look out for the symptoms of diabetes.

It comes as the Newcastle Gateshead Clinical Commissioning Group take part in the national type two diabetes prevention week from May 23-29..

The week will highlight the type two diabetes prevention programme, with more people expected to receive a diabetes diagnosis in coming years.

Read More: The North East 'angels' at the cutting edge of care

Type two diabetes is a condition which causes the levels of sugar in the blood to become too high. It can be treated and can enter remission with treatment and care, whereas type one diabetes is genetic and irreversible.

According to figures collated from the House of Commons Library in 2017, there were an estimated 5,388 people living with diabetes in the parliamentary constituency of Gateshead.

The figures showed Gateshead was roughly in line with the national prevalence of diabetes, (6.7%) at 6.6% of the population. The constituency of Blaydon had similar numbers with 5,151 people listed as living with diabetes, with a prevalence in line with the national average at 6.9%.

Although the figures do not differentiate between type one and type two, it is estimated 90% of these recorded cases would have been type two. However, these numbers are expected to rise and according to Diabetes UK, have been rising for the last 15 years. There are also estimated to be around one million undiagnosed people across the UK.

Diabetes UK expects the number of people living with diabetes to rise to 5.5 million by 2030.

Speaking about the prevention programme, GP of 20 years and Gateshead lead for diabetes, Dr Becky Haines said: “Many people with type two diabetes have a family history and know people who have diabetes and it's often quite a frightening thing to have hanging over you to know you’re at risk of developing it.

“I think it’s a positive message of hope that there is now something you can do, whereas for years we would tell people you need to do this, that and the other in a 10 minute appointment. Whereas now we can offer a 10 month programme which is free and which has been shown to reduce people’s risk of developing diabetes.

“I have had patients who have been through the programme and managed to lower their blood sugar which is fantastic.”

Dr Haines commented the rise she had seen in the number of patients being diagnosed with diabetes was linked to the rise in people living with obesity, explaining why there is an increase of people in their twenties and even teens now beginning to develop type two diabetes.

She also explained the programme’s face to face consultations had been hampered by the pandemic and online meetings proved difficult as a result of deprivation and a lack of confidence in technology. However, face to face consultations are now starting back up in the borough.

Risk factors for type 2 diabetes can include race. People of Afro-Caribbean, Black African, or south east Asian descent are four times more likely to develop diabetes than people from a white background.

Symptoms of type 2 diabetes include:

  • Going to the toilet more often
  • Feeling tired
  • Losing weight without trying
  • Genital itching or thrush
  • Cuts and wounds taking longer to heal
  • Extreme thirst

Long term effects of diabetes can include heart disease, loss of sensation, foot infections or sores, vision loss and kidney problems.

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Dive Deeper:
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One subscription that gives you access to news from hundreds of sites
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Get all your news in one place