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Number of diabetics in Westcountry to hit nearly 400,000 by 2020

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: October 06, 2012

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Almost 400,000 people in the Westcountry will have diabetes by 2020, a national charity has warned.

Over the next eight years the number of people with the condition in the South West is expected to rise by 64,000, according to a report by Diabetes UK.

Currently some 335,000 people in the region are diagnosed with diabetes, and that figure is projected to reach 399,000 by the end of the decade.

In Devon the number of diabetics is expected to increase by 10,800 to 63,300, including an increase of 2,200 to 17,100 in Plymouth.

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In Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly numbers are expected to reach 45,900, an increase of 7,700.

Dr Kerry Bailey, a public health specialist in Cornwall, said: "There is a slightly higher rate of incidence in Cornwall because of the ageing population and levels of deprivation.

"The awful predictions are a warning of what could happen unless we do something. There needs to be a focus on prevention rather than waiting for the problem to get worse.

"Some people need to become more active, lose weight, and bring their sugar levels back to normal."

She added: "Evidence shows large numbers of people are unaware they have Type 2 diabetes. But people can assess their level of risk online, or visit their GP for a test and a health check."

Numbers of people with diabetes in Britain is expected to hit 4.4 million by 2020, a rise of 700,000, based on the data from Yorkshire & Humber Public Health Observatory. Many of the extra 700,000 cases will be Type 2 diabetes, which is often linked to lifestyle and weight.

Rising numbers will also be affected by Type 1 diabetes, which scientists are unable to explain.

Diabetes UK has warned that the cost of providing healthcare for the extra 700,000 people would put great financial pressure on the NHS, which is already spending 10% of its entire budget on treating the condition.

The charity is calling for the Government to fund a public health campaign to raise awareness of risk factors and of the seriousness of diabetes.

It also wants the Government to give more support to people at high risk to help them lose weight through healthy eating and regular physical activity.

Graham Cooper, Diabetes UK South West regional manager, said: "The healthcare system is already at breaking point in terms of its ability to provide care for people with diabetes and the result is that many people are developing health complications that could have been avoided and are dying early as a result.

"If this projected increase becomes reality, it would be a calamity for the healthcare system and a disaster for public health. But the Government and the NHS do not seem to have grasped the scale of the impending crisis and at the moment we seem to be sleepwalking towards it.

"We still hear about people who think diabetes is a relatively mild condition and do not realise it can lead to devastating complications such as blindness, amputation and stroke."

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  • spindles12  |  October 09 2012, 3:51PM

    I have been diabetic for 17 years and I am sick to death of reading that obesity is the main cause of Type 2 diabetes. At my heaviest ever weight, when nine months pregnant, I was 9 stone and after the births I went back down to 7 stone. My weight has now gradually crept up to almost ten stone, mainly because of the insulin I have been on for many years. When I was diagnosed I was 8 stone, active although didn't do "exercise" and didn't eat lots of junk food and yet I have Type 2 diabetes. My father had it for some years before me, he wasn't overweight either and neither is my twin sister who also has it so all this talk of obesity leading to diabetes is very misleading to say the least. Some very overweight people can go all through their life without ever getting diabetes while others, like me and my family, will get it when they are a normal weight, or even underweight. The obese label might lull people into thinking that they can't possibly get it because they aren't overweight but that obviously isn't the case. When I was first diagnosed the normal blood sugar level range was between 4 -7 but a few years ago the official guidelines on diagnosing diabetes were that the range should be around 4 - 6,a bit like moving the goalposts thereby catching people who would have been told they didn't have diabetes but now did, hence the increase. I'm not saying that obesity doesn't play a part but people can also become diabetic because of the medication they are taking. A friend of mine, admittedly carrying quite a lot of excess weight, is also diabetic but hers is steroid induced and the obesity had nothing to do with it. For anyone being newly diagnosed and having the prospect of needing to take insulin, the picture at the top of the article is enough to frighten the living daylights out of them. The thought of having to inject themselves in the arm, with a needle that long is just ridiculous. There are such things as insulin pens now whereby you load an insulin cartridge into the pen and just screw the appropriate sized needle onto it, rather than drawing up the insulin from a separate bottle each time. My overweight friend has needles that are 12mm long, mine are 4mm, as fine as a hair and very sharp meaning doing an injection doesn't hurt, in fact, the finger *****ing to test the blood sugar is the bit that sometimes hurts! Injections are usually done in the stomach and legs, with the arms almost being a last resort, mainly because it's so hard to to it to yourself so that's misleading as well. Making sweeping statements that sorting obesity will sort Type 2 diabetes is a bit silly as there are plenty of other factors involved. Although I don't go to exercise classes etc. I make sure that I walk as much as I can by parking in a supermarket car park, far away from the main entrance, I walk briskly and hardly ever sit down during the day. My weight has gradually crept up to almost ten stone, which I am sure is just to do with the insulin so actually diabetes is causing me to carry more weight and is not the reason I got it in the first place.

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  • PL1Plym  |  October 09 2012, 12:10PM

    Is it just me or does the photo for this story when viewing the thumbnail image, look a bit rude? Tee Heee! :0)

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  • blogtodi  |  October 09 2012, 11:00AM

    Sort obesity and you've sorted type 2 diabetes...and that will never happen. Have you noticed that with all the 'get fit' and 'get on your bike' campaigns around, only the fit and healthy ones are getting fitter and healthier. The gap widens. Which is just as well when you think what the fat ones would look like in lycra/spandex.

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  • MrVanKleefe  |  October 09 2012, 10:20AM

    Cut down on processed foods,booze,pastries and cakes.. and do at least 20 mins strenuous exercise each day. It is fairly easy, no special treatments required.

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  • Stuboy13  |  October 09 2012, 10:05AM

    Wow, you people have a lot of knowledge on this!! I'm staying well out of this one. We could just start culling fatties though?

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  • Karen362  |  October 09 2012, 1:15AM

    Hope I haven't offended anyone... I just hate all this negativity. Electrotherapy has the potential to dramatically improve people's lives, after all - oh well, off to bed to cavitate!

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  • barrtribe  |  October 08 2012, 11:22PM

    ah found them they are just old :)

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  • barrtribe  |  October 08 2012, 11:21PM

    where did my posts go, didnt think there was anything offensive or of point in them . ah well

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  • Karen362  |  October 08 2012, 9:44PM

    Come off it Hocus. I said I had just done a simple google search and those examples were thrown up instantaneously so that even a simple layman could see electrotherapy is here to stay. Most people on here are not students of physiology and prefer to have things explained to them in popularist terms. I've no idea where all this "left wing" stuff has suddenly come from, and it looks as if you're just peddling childish propaganda. I really have better things to do than bicker like this. Furthermore this 'Dutch' report you're on about is some 12 YEARS out of date, for goodness sake! It's no wonder your so entrenched in the past. Times change, what more can I say? Let's just agree to disagree, shall we? You'd probably be lambasting Galileo for saying the world wasn't flat in a former life, let's face it. Meanwhile, we'll all get on with the important business of increasing people's awareness of the benefits of ET. Like they do in Ireland and just about every other country in the modern age. Unbelievable!

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  • Hocus_Pocus  |  October 08 2012, 8:29PM

    Hi sparo, a fair point, we have monopilised the board slightly, however my point is that Karen is suggesting a treatment for Diabetic Foot Ulcers that has no efficacy or merit. I am going to leave my comments on this subject at that.

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