GPs in Camden are encouraging local people to get behind National Diabetes Week – which runs from 8 to 14 June.
This year, the theme behind the awareness week is ‘I Can’. Living with diabetes can sometimes feel like an uphill struggle, and the national campaign encourages people to show their support by sharing their stories online using the hashtag #iCan.
Local clinicians are supporting people who have diabetes to manage their condition better and are asking people at risk of developing type 2 diabetes to get tested and take steps to reduce their risk.
In Camden, over 15,000 residents are estimated to be affected by diabetes with more people expected to develop type 2 diabetes in the future. This is because people are becoming more overweight and do less physical activity than in the past. There is also a greater risk of getting type 2 diabetes amongst people from the south Asian and Afro-Caribbean communities and for people with a family history of the disease.
Dr Caz Sayer, a local GP and the Camden Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) Chair explained:
“To reduce your risk of developing diabetes, the best thing you can do is to eat healthily and to increase the amount of physical activity you do. Changing your eating and exercise habits can be really hard, but small changes over time can make a big difference.
“It’s vital for people diagnosed with type 2 diabetes to take the lead in managing their condition. Reducing the amount of sugary and fatty foods they eat, eating smaller portions and increasing the amount of exercise they do in a way that their doctor has approved can significantly reduce the symptoms of diabetes.”
Type 2 diabetes was originally called late or adult onset diabetes. However, because of lifestyle changes the disease is now found in people who are much younger, including children. If left untreated diabetes can lead to serious complications. These include; increased risk of heart disease and stroke, nerve damage, blindness, lower limb amputation and kidney disease. Early diagnosis and taking steps to manage the disease can reduce these risks.
Type 2 diabetes is caused when the boy does not produce enough insulin, a hormone that is important for regulating carbohydrate and fat metabolism, or when the body becomes ‘resistant’ to the effect of insulin.
There are a number of symptoms which can indicate the onset of type 2 diabetes, including feeling thirsty, urinating frequently, feeling tired, weight loss and bulk of muscle. Dr Sayer advises people to listen to their body and how it feels. Noticing changes in your health and seeking medical advice early could help to detect diabetes. If you think you may have diabetes or if you think that you may be at risk, talk to your GP.
National Diabetes Week is all about awareness, education and getting members of the community thinking about their health. The iCan campaign shows that with a proactive approach to self-maintenance and medicines, people living with diabetes can live a healthy and happy life.