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Know the signs and know what to do during Diabetes Awareness Week

Diabetes Awareness Week runs until Sunday June 18, and this year the theme is ‘Know Diabetes, Fight Diabetes’.

To support this, doctors at South East Staffordshire and Seisdon Peninsula Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) are urging people to be aware of the symptoms so they can access support that is currently available for those who suffer from diabetes.

The majority of people in the UK with diabetes suffer from Type 2, a total of 90% of diabetics are diagnosed with this condition.

Patients diagnosed withType 2 Diabetes can often control their condition by leading a healthier lifestyle. People leading healthy lifestyles are also less likely to develop the condition.

Diabetes is a condition which occurs when your body cannot use blood glucose properly. Our bodies use glucose in the blood for energy. Blood glucose levels go up when we eat any food or drink that contains carbohydrate such as chapatti, rice, bread, potatoes, pasta, biscuits, sweets, fizzy drinks and fruit juice. When you have diabetes, your blood glucose levels stay up because your body cannot use glucose properly for the energy it needs. If this is not corrected, it can lead to complications that can make you go blind, have a heart attack or stroke, or even have an amputation.

There are many people who are at risk of diabetes but who are unaware of the risk. This is why it is important for people to know exactly what help is available for them in order to manage their diabetes.

The two main types of diabetes include Type 1 which is when the body’s immune system destroys the cells which create insulin, and Type 2 which means the body doesn’t produce enough insulin. 

The main symptoms of diabetes include:

Urinating more frequently (especially during the night)
Feeling more thirsty than usual
Blurred vision
Feeling very tired
Losing weight without trying  
Cuts/wounds which heal slowly

Nicky Coxon from Burntwood recently received a diabetes diagnosis after suffering from symptoms. As diabetes runs in her family she was aware of what to look out for. 

Nicky, aged 41, said: “I started to get an absolutely unquenchable thirst. I was also feeling tired and irritable so I went for a test. It only took two seconds and showed that my sugars were so high I initially was admitted to hospital overnight.” 

She has now modified her diet and is adapting to her condition with support.

She said: “I am now receiving support and have regular appointments with a Diabetic Nurse Specialist at a nearby GP surgery which is helping.

“I have to be more careful when I am shopping and look at the labels to see that I am not eating things that could make my diabetes worse. I am also using exercise to help control my condition.”

People who are diagnosed with diabetes need to make sure they eat healthily, exercise regularly and maintain a healthy bodyweight. Treatment for diabetes varies depending on which type you have been diagnosed with, but patients diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes can often manage the condition by committing to living more healthily.

If you have been diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes you will need to take daily insulin injections for the rest of your life.

Dr John James, Chair of the CCG said: “Diabetes is a condition which can be controlled given the correct medication as well as leading a healthy lifestyle. Many patients are able to manage their condition by taking more responsibility for their health including eating a healthier diet and taking regular exercise.

“We just need to educate people and make sure they are aware of the help available so that they can control their condition. 

“I would advise local residents to familiarise themselves with the symptoms of diabetes, so they can get support as soon as they think there may be an issue.”

Call the Diabetes UK helpline on 0345 123 2399 for any help or advice on diabetes.

Visit the NHS Choices website for more information on diabetes including the symptoms and the treatments available. 

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