Do you know the signs of Diabetes or if you are at risk?

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This World Diabetes Day (14 November), NHS Sandwell and West Birmingham Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) are urging local residents to become familiar with the warning signs of Diabetes to try and spot the condition sooner.

Diabetes causes a person’s blood sugar level to become too high due to ineffective control by a hormone called insulin. There are two types of Diabetes:

  • Type 1: Where the body’s immune system attacks and destroys the cells that produce insulin
  • Type 2: Where the body doesn’t produce enough insulin, or the body’s cells don’t react to insulin. This is the most common type of Diabetes, and can often be symptom free.

One in 11 adults have Diabetes, yet one in two people with Diabetes are undiagnosed. The condition can lead to other serious health problems including strokes, heart disease and early death.

Dr Ian Sykes, GP and Chair at NHS Sandwell and West Birmingham CCG, said: “Diabetes gets progressively worse when left untreated, so early diagnosis is very important. Common symptoms include feeling very thirsty, tiredness, blurred vision and needing to pee more often than usual.

“If you think you or someone in your family might be showing signs of Diabetes, contact your GP or visit your local pharmacy for advice.”

The majority of Diabetes cases are type 2 which is closely linked to obesity. This type commonly affects adults but is being increasingly seen in children and adolescents. However, over 50% of type 2 Diabetes is preventable by adopting a healthy lifestyle with regular exercise and a balanced diet.

The International Diabetes Federation has created a simple online test that predicts an individual’s risk of developing type 2 Diabetes within the next 10 years. The tool is quick, easy and confidential and may indicate a need to introduce healthier lifestyle changes to lower the risk of Diabetes.

The NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme, ‘Healthier You’, is a free local service for those who are at risk of developing type 2 Diabetes. The programme is designed to stop or delay the onset of the disease through a range of personalised lifestyle interventions. These include advice on how to reduce weight through healthier eating and bespoke physical activity programmes.

For more information on the signs and symptoms of Diabetes and what you can do to prevent it, visit the NHS website and the Healthier You website.