Event raises diabetes concerns

Diabetes patient with insulin.
Diabetes patient with insulin.

MORE than half of people tested for diabetes at a public event in Hartlepool were referred to a doctor after they were discovered to be at risk of developing the disease.

More than 100 people took up the free tests when they attended a roadshow in Hartlepool town centre run by charity Diabetes UK.

Out of the 131 tested, 77 people – 59 per cent – were immediately referred to their GP for further tests.

It was after they were found to be at high or moderate risk of developing Type 2 diabetes in the next 10 years.

The worrying figures come less than a year after the Mail revealed Hartlepool was sitting on a ticking diabetes timebomb.

Experts believe 1,900 people in Hartlepool are suffering from diabetes they don’t know they have.

Type 2 diabetes can be treated with tablets and diet control.

But if the disease worsens and progresses to Type 1, sufferers will face a lifetime of having to inject themselves with insulin to control their blood sugar levels.

And it can lead to devastating complications like stroke, heart disease, kidney failure and blindness.

Linda Wood, Northern and Yorkshire Regional Manager for Diabetes UK, said: “Diabetes is one of the biggest health challenges facing us today.

“I am pleased that the Diabetes UK Healthy Lifestyle Roadshow was able to help people find out if they were at risk of the condition.”

The lottery-funded roadshow also told people how they could avoid developing diabetes by eating a healthy diet low in fat, salt and sugar and taking regular exercise.

Local health chiefs say they are working to raise awareness of the disease and to identify people who are most at risk.

A spokesman for NHS Hartlepool said: “Since October 2008, GPs across Hartlepool have been inviting patients aged 40-74 for a NHS Health Check.  

“The check includes a range of routine health tests the results of which give the GP a clearer picture of your health and your risk of developing heart disease, stroke, kidney disease or diabetes. 

“The introduction of the check has led GPs to identify cases of undiagnosed diabetes.

“The local NHS is also developing strategies to promote awareness about how to prevent diabetes, this includes regular physical activity and healthy eating.

“It is also developing programmes to identify those who are at greatest risk of developing pre-diabetes to intervene at an early stage to stop the progression to Type 2 Diabetes.”