iCan- Get behind National Diabetes Week

GPs in Tower Hamlets are saying iCan get behind National Diabetes Week, an awareness week that runs from 8 to 14 June. Local clinicians are supporting people who have diabetes to manage their condition better and are asking people at risk of developing type 2 diabetes to get tested and take steps to reduce their risk.

There are over 14,000 people in Tower Hamlets who currently know they have type 2 diabetes with approximately a further 2000 people who have type 2 diabetes who are unaware they have this disease. Public health experts predict that there will be over 17,000 with the condition by 2020.

More people are expected to develop Type 2 diabetes because people are more overweight and they do less physical activity than in the past. There is also a greater risk of getting type 2 diabetes amongst people from the south Asian and Afro-Caribbean communities and for people with a family history of the disease.  

Dr Sam Everington, a local GP and the NHS Tower Hamlets Clinical Commissioning Group Chair explained:

“To reduce your risk of developing diabetes the best thing you can do is to eat healthily and to increase the amount of physical activity you do. Changing your eating and exercise habits can be really hard but small changes over time can make a big difference and help reduce your waist size and your weight.

“It’s vital for people diagnosed with type 2 diabetes to take the lead in managing their condition. Reducing the amount of sugary and fatty foods they eat and portion sizes and exercising in a way their doctor has approved can severely reduce the symptoms of diabetes.” 

Type 2 diabetes was originally called late or adult onset diabetes. However, because of lifestyle changes the disease is now found in people who are much younger, including children. If left untreated diabetes can lead to serious complications. These include; increased risk of heart disease and stroke, nerve damage, blindness, lower limb amputation and kidney disease. Early diagnosis and taking steps to manage the disease can reduce these risks.  

Type 2 diabetes is caused when insulin, a hormone that is important for regulating carbohydrate and fat metabolism in the body stops working, the body becomes ‘resistant’ to the effect of insulin.

There are a number of symptoms such as tiredness, which can indicate the onset of type 2 diabetes. The difficultly with type 2 diabetes is that you may have no symptoms until you develop one of the complications. Dr Everington advises people to listen to their body and how it feels. Noticing changes in your health and seeking medical advice could help to detect diabetes.

If you think you may have diabetes or if you think that you may be at risk you can check your risk at   www.riskscore.diabetes.org.uk/2013 or talk to your GP.

National Diabetes Week is all about awareness and education, our aim is to get members of the community thinking about their health.

The iCan campaign shows that people living with diabetes can live a healthy and happy life, with a proactive approach to self-maintenance and medicines.

To find out how you can get involved visit www.diabetes.org.uk/Get_involved/Diabetes-Week/ or email diabetesweek@diabetes.org.uk