In the UK, there are more than 4.5 million people who have diabetes of which over 1 million people have Type 2 diabetes but don’t know they have it because they haven’t been diagnosed. 11.9 million people are at increased risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.
Diabetes is a condition where there is too much glucose in the blood because the body cannot use it properly. If not managed well, both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes can lead to devastating complications. Diabetes is one of the leading causes of preventable sight loss in people of working age in the UK and is a major cause of lower limb amputation, kidney failure and stroke. People with Type 1 diabetes cannot produce insulin. About 10 per cent of people with diabetes have Type 1. No one knows exactly what causes it, but it’s not to do with being overweight and it isn’t currently preventable. It usually affects children or young adults, starting suddenly and getting worse quickly. Type 1 diabetes is treated by daily insulin doses – taken either by injections or via an insulin pump. It is also recommended to follow a healthy diet and take regular physical activity.
People with Type 2 diabetes don’t produce enough insulin or the insulin they produce doesn’t work properly (known as insulin resistance). 85 to 90 per cent of people with diabetes have Type 2. They might get Type 2 diabetes because of their family history, age and ethnic background puts them at increased risk. They are also more likely to get Type 2 diabetes if they are overweight. It starts gradually, usually later in life, and it can be years before they realise they have it. Type 2 diabetes is treated with a healthy diet and increased physical activity. In addition, tablets and/or insulin can be required.
If you do have diabetes, the leading charity Diabetes UK is holding a free event in Launceston to help you learn how to keep your feet healthy.
It will be held at Trethorne Leisure Park on Tuesday 28 March 2017, from 9.45am to 2pm, and will feature advice on foot care and footwear from local podiatry experts, together with hints on healthy eating from a dietician. Lunch and refreshments will be provided free of charge.
There are more than 140 diabetes-related amputations a week in England, yet up to 80% could be prevented through better patient knowledge and improved care services. Preventing foot ulcers and treating them quickly if they do develop is crucial in avoiding amputation.
Also present at the Launceston foot care event will be Ken Reed from Plymouth who will share his experience of Type 2 diabetes.
Retired carpenter Ken, 60, has been living with diabetes for the past 12 years. Two years ago he went to a podiatrist about tingling in his toes and was shocked to discover he had mild neuropathy – nerve damage caused by persistent high blood sugar. This can cause loss of feeling which means that those affected don’t feel pain from minor injuries and can lead to amputation of a toe, foot or leg if an infection develops.
“I had no idea that diabetes could affect my feet in any way,” said Ken Reed. “I am now really careful because I want to make sure my neuropathy doesn’t get any worse. I wash and dry my feet thoroughly every day, moisturise and check them over. People with diabetes mustn’t be afraid to go to their GP if they find the slightest blister or blemish, and if the surgery can’t fit you in, insist.”
Annika Palmer, Diabetes UK influencing manager for Devon and Cornwall, said:
“Your feet are incredibly important if you have diabetes and there’s a lot you can do yourself to take care of them if only you know how! Our foot care day in Launceston will equip you with the information you need to keep your feet healthy now and for the future, whilst ensuring you know who to speak to if and when a problem does arise. It really is an event not to be missed if you have diabetes.”
For further information and to book a free place, please contact Paula Wilson at Diabetes UK South West Regional Office on 01823 448260 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Meanwhile, the South West Regional Team are getting involved in Swim22. The 5 strong team are hoping to raise £650 by swimming the equivalent distance of the English Channel between 22nd February and 22nd May. If you would like to support us and the work of Diabetes UK then please sponsor this challenge by donating at https://www.justgiving.com/