New campaign launched in Suffolk and Essex to mark World Diabetes Day

Gerry Rayman, senior diabetologist. Picture: CONTRIBUTED

Gerry Rayman, senior diabetologist. Picture: CONTRIBUTED

Health bosses across Suffolk and north-east Essex are today launching a campaign to improve awareness of diabetes.

Diabetes nurse specialist at Ipswich Hospital, Chris Kerry. Picture: IPSWICH HOSPITAL

Diabetes nurse specialist at Ipswich Hospital, Chris Kerry. Picture: IPSWICH HOSPITAL - Credit: Archant

Around 48,000 people across the two areas currently live with the condition, which if not managed correctly can result in serious complications such as blindness, kidney failure, stroke and loss of limbs.

The initiative – called ‘Let’s Beat Diabetes Together’ – has been kicked off to coincide with World Diabetes Day.

The aim is to help people with the illness manage their health better, and to educate the wider public about how they can avoid developing type 2 diabetes by leading a healthier lifestyle.

Professor Gerry Rayman, senior diabetologist and lead of diabetes research at Ipswich Hospital’s Diabetes Centre, said: “Diabetes is fast becoming the biggest health threat in the UK and can reduce life expectancy.

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“However, if managed correctly, many people can go on to lead happy and independent lives without developing these complications.”

The dedicated diabetes team at Ipswich Hospital will be on hand near Debenham Ward from 9am to 1pm today to assess individuals and calculate their percentage chance of developing the disease, informing people’s GPs when necessary.

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Diabetes nurse specialist, Chris Kerry, said: “We are very friendly and will try to give visitors top tips on diet and lifestyle.

“We will also advise people of the process they need to follow if they are seen to be at risk.”

Meanwhile, new research from Diabetes UK has found that three in five people living with diabetes in the East of England experience mental health problems as a result of their condition.

Chris Chaplin, from Colchester, who has lived with type 2 diabetes for more than 20 years, said: “Living with the condition takes its toll on you physically and mentally.

“I am very lucky as I have a fantastic doctor who makes a real effort, she talks to me like a human being and not just a faceless person on her books. The diabetes specialist nurses are amazing too.

“That is so important, being listened to and understood as an individual makes me feel comfortable.”

Since 1996, the number of people diagnosed with diabetes in the UK has more than doubled from 1.4 million to almost 3.5m.

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