New push to tackle diabetes across Suffolk as prevalence continues to rise

Equipment used by diabetics to administer insulin Picture: BILL SMITH

Equipment used by diabetics to administer insulin Picture: BILL SMITH - Credit: EDP � 2001

Efforts to raise awareness of diabetes and how to prevent it are being redoubled in Suffolk as the number of new diagnoses rises by 5% year on year.

Suffolk County Council’s public health team is working alongside OneLife Suffolk to help people live well with the condition, or stop them from developing it in the first place.

There are an estimated 38,000 diabetics in Suffolk – a number which is increasing by 5% each year. There are also thought to be an additional 7,500 people in the county living with the condition who have not yet been diagnosed.

Diabetes is a lifelong illness that causes a person’s blood sugar level to become too high.

There are two main types of diabetes: type 1 and type 2, both of which can lead to severe complications such as cardiovascular disease, kidney failure, foot damage, and blindness, if not managed properly.

Type 2 is linked with a poor lifestyle and according to Suffolk County Council around 60% of diagnoses can be avoided.

The authority wants to work towards earlier identification of people at risk and support them to make heathy changes to reduce their chance of developing type 2 diabetes, such as eating well, being more active, losing weight or quitting smoking.

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This Wednesday people can get a free health check-up at Aqua Pharmacy in Ipswich between 9am and 11am.

Anyone at risk of diabetes will be signposted to relevant services, such as smoking cessation courses and fitness programmes.

James Reeder, cabinet member for health at Suffolk County Council said: “Early diagnosis and support can make a huge difference in helping people to prevent or manage diabetes. Type 2 diabetes is preventable. This is why it is so important to raise awareness, not only of the warning signs, but also how you can reduce your risk of developing the condition.”

Mandy Hunt, lead diabetes specialist nurse at West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust, added: “Thankfully with the right support, medication and lifestyle many patients lead fulfilling, long and happy lives whilst managing a long-term condition.”

The council is urging people to familiarise themselves with the possible symptoms: feeling more tired, hungry or thirsty than usual, and going to the toilet more often.

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