Warning over thousands with undiagnosed diabetes

SUFFOLK: An estimated 11,900 people in Suffolk are unaware they have diabetes, according to shocking new figures.

Health charity Diabetes UK said the estimated 92,400 people in the East of England, who are thought to have undiagnosed Type 2 diabetes, are at serious risk of complications such as blindness, amputation, kidney failure, stroke and heart disease.

In total it is thought there are 34,000 people in Suffolk with diabetes, including those undiagnosed.

The new estimates come from Diabetes Health Intelligence, a strategic programme of the Yorkshire and Humber Public Health Observatory.

Type 2 diabetes can go undetected for up to ten years and around half of people already show signs of complications by the time they are diagnosed. Early diagnosis and effective management of the condition are crucial in reducing the risk of developing life-changing complications.

Sharon Tillbrook, Diabetes UK regional manager for the East of England, said: “This new estimate of 92,400 undiagnosed Type 2 cases in the East of England is truly alarming. PCTs need to better prioritise screening of at risk groups and improve uptake of programmes such as NHS Health Checks.

“We face a bleak future of spiralling NHS costs and worsening public health if diagnosis rates for Type 2 diabetes do not improve.”

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Dr Peter Bradley, NHS Suffolk’s director of public health, said: “Diabetes is one of the top health issues which NHS Suffolk is tackling and we are working with GPs to make diabetes services some of the best in the region.

“Increasing rates of obesity have contributed to the rise in the number of people with type 2 diabetes, so it is important that people recognise that lifestyle changes can make a real difference to their wellbeing – move more and eat less.

“We have schemes giving people the information and help they need to make positive changes to their lifestyles, such as Healthy Ambitions Suffolk and the MEND (Mind, Exercise,Nutrition,Do It..) programmes. “We work with our partners, including Diabetes UK, to raise awareness.”

n Do you have diabetes and want to tell us about your experience? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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