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Know Diabetes, Fight Diabetes

15/05/2017

Know diabetes, fight diabetes

Urges leading charity ahead of Diabetes Week 2017

www.diabetes.org.uk/diabetesweek

Diabetes is one of the UK’s biggest health crises, and it’s on the rise. Some 4.5 million people in the UK are living with diabetes, and 11.9 million in the UK are at risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.  Its impact and complications can be devastating, causing blindness, amputations, even early death.

Despite these huge numbers, fewer than two in five people think that they or their close family are likely to get diabetes. They aren't concerned about diabetes, and they don't understand or know what it is.

Leading charity Diabetes UK is aiming to change this, to make people sit up and take notice during Diabetes Week, which is taking place from Sunday 11 June to Saturday 17 June.  The charity’s theme for Diabetes Week 2017, ‘Know Diabetes, Fight Diabetes’, reflects this call for change, asking others to join the campaign to make it happen.

Make no mistake, diabetes is a serious condition, but there are things you can do to help manage it and avoid developing serious complications.

The charity is bringing the ‘Know diabetes, fight diabetes’ theme to life by encouraging people with the condition to get in touch and share their knowledge and experience, to help and inspire others. What have you learned about diabetes which has made a difference for you?  Help Diabetes UK fight for better care, more research and less stigma. Get in touch here to find out more.

Throughout the week, there will be a range of events and initiatives organised by Diabetes UK which will raise awareness of this condition.

Know diabetes

Getting to know and understand diabetes better is central to the work of Diabetes UK, from research discoveries to talking to healthcare professionals and people with diabetes, all aspects of which will be explored during Diabetes Week.

In a nutshell, diabetes means the amount of glucose (sugar) in your blood is too high because your body can’t use it properly for energy. This happens because the pancreas either doesn’t produce any insulin, enough insulin, or the insulin it does produce doesn’t work properly.

There are two main types of diabetes: Type 1 and Type 2. They’re different conditions, caused by different things.

About 10 per cent of people with diabetes have Type 1, which means they can’t produce insulin. Type 1 is not to do with being overweight and it’s not preventable.

People withType 2 diabetesdon’t produce enough insulin or the insulin they produce doesn’t work properly.  One of the biggest risk factors for Type 2 is being overweight; age, ethnicity and family history can also have an impact.

Following a healthy diet and lifestyle is really important, as is taking appropriate medications. This will help to manage your blood sugar, blood fat and blood pressure levels, which will reduce your risk of diabetes complications.

Getting the right health checks is vital. They show you how your diabetes is progressing, help to spot signs of complications as early as possible and identify changes to help prevent complications.  If you are living with diabetes, do have a look at Diabetes UK’s 15 Healthcare essentials to see you are getting the checks and tests which can help.

To get involved and find out more about diabetes during Diabetes Week, you can:

  • Find out what your risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes is. It takes less than three minutes to use Diabetes UK’s popular online questionnaire, Know Your Risk.
  • Sign up for a free Diabetes UK education course to polish up your knowledge
  • Become a Diabetes UK volunteer and connect with others living with the condition
  • Engage with us on Twitter during the week, using the hashtag #diabetesweek

Fight diabetes

Diabetes UK is fighting to achieve change – from variation in care and support for people with diabetes, to challenging the stigma and discrimination caused by lack of understanding of the condition.

During Diabetes Week, you can help Diabetes UK fight the condition in lots of ways:

For more information visit www.diabetes.org.uk

For further media information please contact Helen Riley on 0203 757 7783 / helen.riley@diabetes.org.uk  or email press@diabetes.org.uk.

For urgent out of hours media enquiries only please call 07711 176028. ISDN facilities available.

Notes to editors:

Diabetes UK is the leading UK charity that campaigns on behalf of all people affected by and at risk of diabetes. For more information on all aspects of diabetes and access to Diabetes UK activities and services, visit www.diabetes.org.uk 

In the UK, there are more than 4.5 million people who have diabetes, of which over 1 million people have Type 2 diabetes but don’t know they have it because they haven’t been diagnosed. 11.9 million people are at increased risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.  

Diabetes is a condition where there is too much glucose in the blood because the body cannot use it properly. If not managed well, both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes can lead to devastating complications. Diabetes is one of the leading causes of preventable sight loss in people of working age in the UK and is a major cause of lower limb amputation, kidney failure and stroke.

People with Type 1 diabetes cannot produce insulin. About 10 per cent of people with diabetes have Type 1. No one knows exactly what causes it, but it’s not to do with being overweight and it isn’t currently preventable. It usually affects children or young adults, starting suddenly and getting worse quickly. Type 1 diabetes is treated by daily insulin doses – taken either by injections or via an insulin pump. It is also recommended to follow a healthy diet and take regular physical activity.

People with Type 2 diabetes don’t produce enough insulin or the insulin they produce doesn’t work properly (known as insulin resistance). 85 to 90 per cent of people with diabetes have Type 2. They might get Type 2 diabetes because of their family history, age and ethnic background puts them at increased risk. They are also more likely to get Type 2 diabetes if they are overweight. It starts gradually, usually later in life, and it can be years before they realise they have it. Type 2 diabetes is treated with a healthy diet and increased physical activity. In addition, tablets and/or insulin can be required.

The most common symptoms of diabetes are:

  • Going to the toilet a lot, especially at night.
  • Being really thirsty.
  • Feeling more tired than usual.
  • Losing weight without trying to.
  • Genital itching or thrush.
  • Cuts and wounds take longer to heal.
  • Blurred vision.

Having some of the signs of diabetes doesn’t mean you definitely have the condition, but you should always contact your GP, just to make sure.

For more information on reporting on diabetes, download our journalists’ guide: Diabetes in the News: A Guide for Journalists on Reporting on Diabetes (PDF, 3MB)

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