Mersey Care NHS Foundation Trust is encouraging people to be aware of the signs and symptoms of diabetes for World Diabetes Day on November 14.
The annual awareness day marks the birthday of Frederick Banting who, along with Charles Best, was instrumental in the discovery of insulin in 1922, a life-saving treatment for diabetes patients.
Diabetes is a long-term condition caused by having too much glucose in the blood. If someone has diabetes they are either not producing insulin, or the insulin they do produce can’t work properly, or there isn’t enough of it. There are 3.8 million people diagnosed with diabetes in the UK and it is estimated that nearly 1 million people have the condition, but are undiagnosed.
Type 1 diabetes is an auto-immune condition which means the immune system attacks healthy body tissue by mistake; in this case it attacks the cells in the pancreas resulting in the body not producing insulin. People with Type 1 diabetes have to replace the insulin by injections.
Type 2 diabetes can develop for a number of reasons including family history, age, and being overweight, particularly around the middle. However, there are people of a healthy weight who also have type 2 diabetes. About 85-90 percent of people with type 2 diabetes are overweight and sometimes, by losing weight, type 2 diabetes can be reversed. Good food choices and being active will have the biggest impact on managing glucose levels. Some people will need medication and some people may need insulin therapy, in order to prevent problems occurring in the future.
The main signs and symptoms of diabetes include: feeling very thirsty, tiredness, increased passing of urine (particularly at night), repeated infections and weight loss. If you are concerned please speak to your GP or practice nurse.
The ‘Diabetes and You’ programme has been developed for people who are newly diagnosed with type 2 diabetes and is available to residents in the borough of Sefton. The informal sessions discuss aspects of diabetes and its management and are presented by a diabetes nurse, dietitian and podiatrist. The aim is to help people understand type 2 diabetes and to support them to self- manage their condition. The ‘Diabetes and More’ programme is available for people who have had their type 2 diabetes for longer than 12 months and looks in more detail at long term self- management.
Please contact the community diabetes service on 0151 475 4085 for further information or speak to your practice nurse to request a referral. Alternatively, speak to your doctor if you are concerned about diabetes.