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West Middlesex speaks out for Diabetes Week

11 June 2014

During Diabetes Week (8 -14 June) West Middlesex University Hospital is speaking out to raise awareness of the condition which affects 1 in 5 of the hospital’s inpatients.

During Diabetes Week (8 -14 June) West Middlesex University Hospital is speaking out to raise awareness of the condition which affects 1 in 5 of the hospital’s inpatients.

There are 2.9 million people diagnosed with diabetes in the UK and around 850,000 people who have the condition but don’t know it.

Diabetes is a condition in which the amount of glucose (sugar) in the blood is too high because the body cannot use it properly.  There are two main types of diabetes; Type 1 diabetes develops if the body is unable to produce any insulin and Type 2 diabetes develops when the body can still make some insulin but not enough, or when the insulin that is produced does not work properly. 

Type 2 diabetes is the more common of the two main types and accounts for between 85 - 95% of all people with diabetes. Type 2 diabetes is a preventable condition which claims one life every eight seconds.

As incidence of diabetes is relatively high in Hounslow and Richmond, patients with diabetes can be found in any of the wards throughout the hospital. West Middlesex has two consultants specialising in diabetes and a wide array of services that are offered to patients. 

Dr Rashmi Kaushal, consultant endocrinologist who specialises in diabetes at West Middlesex said: “We are working hard at educate people to try to prevent or delay the onset of diabetes. In patients with established diabetes, we need to provide a very high level of care and education to prevent the vast array of complications that are associated with diabetes, particularly heart disease, stroke, blindness, amputation and kidney failure. The younger someone is when they develop diabetes, the more likely it is over time that they will develop a multitude of complications which will no doubt affect their quality of life.

“The good news for people is that making changes to your lifestyle can really improve your life expectancy and quality of life.  We would advise everyone to stop smoking and make sure they are exercising for at least thirty minutes three times a week.  Also anyone who is overweight is advised to try and diet to lose some weight; losing as little as 5Kg has been shown to reduce mortality by 10%.  People should set themselves small achievable targets because even a little weight loss or a small increase in the amount of exercise can make a big difference to life expectancy”. 

Over the next five years, it is estimated that the number of people with diabetes will double. Indeed for the next generation, diabetes will be the biggest preventable killer in the Western world, taking over premature deaths from smoking, obesity and heart disease. It is important that everyone is aware of diabetes and know what symptoms to look out for.

The signs and symptoms of diabetes are:

  • Increased thirst
  • Going to the loo (for a wee) all the time – especially at night
  • Extreme tiredness
  • Weight loss
  • Blurred vision
  • Genital itching or regular episodes of thrush
  • Slow healing of wounds

There are lots of myths around diabetes, most of which are untrue.  For instance, it is untrue that eating too much sugar causes diabetes; however, it may cause obesity and this is associated with people developing type 2 diabetes.  Similarly, stress does not cause diabetes, although it may be a trigger for the body turning against itself, as in type 1 diabetes. But it does make the symptoms worse for people who already have diabetes.   

In both types of diabetes, the symptoms are quickly relieved once the diabetes is treated. Early treatment will also reduce the chances of developing serious health problems.