Earlier this morning I did an interview with the BBC News Channel about the government report
which says that the incidence of diabetes is soaring, Between 1997 and 2003 there was a 74% increase in diabetes being diagnosed. The government puts this all down to a dramatic rise in obesity. Up to a point, Lord Copper. I know from my own case that had I not stuffed my face with Mars Bars over the years it is more likely that I would have avoided getting diabetes, or at least put it off.
However, it's not always that simple. As I understand it the propensity of doctors to diagnose it has changed over the years. Ten years ago, if you had a blood sugar count of 7, you wouldn't have been diagnosed. Nowadays you would. So it clearly follows that the numbers being diagnosed will rise. In addition, for every patient a GP diagnoses with diabetes, his or her practice gets an annual payment from the NHS - so there is almost an incentive to diagnose borderline cases. This is reflected in the fact that Type 1 cases have been relatively constant. It is the less serious Type 2 (which is what I have) where the incidence has shot up.
However, this should not detract from the central message of this report, which is absolutely right. Obesity leads to diabetes. Douglas Smallwood from Diabetes UK says...
Research shows that losing weight can reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 58%. It is imperative that we raise awareness of the importance of eating a healthy, balanced diet and doing at least 30 minutes of physical activity a day if we want to make any headway in defusing the diabetes time bomb.
He's right. When I was diagnosed, I did change my diet, I lost more than a stone quite quickly. I am a shame to say that some of it has gone back on, so I now have to redouble my efforts to lose it again. The pills have controlled the diabetes, but you can only ever really start beating it by losing weight and exercising.
Several people have emailed me to thank me for outlining the symptoms of diabetes on the News Channel, as it has prompted them to make an appointment with their GP to get tests. So, dear blog readers, if you have these three symptoms, you might want to do something about it...
- Do you feel more lethargic than usual?
- Do you constantly feel thirsty?
- Are you going to the loo more often than usual, especially during the night?
- Do you have a numbness on your legs or feet?
If you answer yes to three of those, go and see your GP.