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14th of November – World Diabetes Day!

14th of November is World Diabetes Day which is internationally recognised. Over 3 million people in the UK live with Diabetes but do you know what the disease is and what can you do to prevent the onset of diabetes?

What is diabetes?

Diabetes is a long-term condition in which the blood sugar level in the body is higher than normal.

There are two main types of diabetes.

  • Type 1 diabetesor insulin-dependent diabetes. It is usually (although not exclusively) seen in young people.
  • Type 2 diabetesor non-insulin-dependent diabetes. It tends to affect adults over 40 and overweight people, although it is now becoming commoner amongst younger people. Type 2 diabetes occurs more frequently in people of South Asian and African-Caribbean descent. There are also other types of diabetes.

How common is diabetes?

Currently over 3 million people in the UK have with diabetes, the majority of which is type 2. It is estimated that more than half a million people more in the UK have type 2 diabetes, but are unaware of it.The last 30 years has seen a threefold increase in the number of cases of childhood diabetes. This is especially worrying in respect of the rising numbers of children and teenagers with Type 2 diabetes, which was once only seen in older people. This trend is likely to reflect the rising obesity levels in young people over the same time period. There has also been an increase in the number of children with Type 1 diabetes, the cause of which is unclear.

What are the common symptoms of diabetes?

  • increased thirst
  • frequent urination
  • tiredness
  • weight loss, although appetite often increases (especially in Type 1 diabetes)
  • itchiness, especially around the genitals or genital thrush
  • recurrent infections on the skin, e.g. boils or urinary infection.

How can you help prevent diabetes?

  • Live an active lifestyle
  • Eat healthily
  • Stop smoking

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