Monday, 10 October 2011

Diabetes at Crisis Levels in Ireland

Diabetes at Crisis Levels in Ireland

ONE IN three Irish people has a family member with diabetes, according to new research.

The figures have been described as a “national crisis” by Prof Séamus Sreenan, consultant endocrinologist and medical director of the Diabetes Federation of Ireland.

“We have been saying it for years, but these figures really bring the message home – diabetes is everywhere in Ireland,” he said.

“It’s in urban and rural communities, in rich areas and less well-off areas.”

One in five people has a family member with type 2 diabetes – which is preventable – and 77 per cent of Irish people know somebody with the disease.

The figures are based on a representative sample of more than 700 people carried out by market research company Behaviour and Attitudes on behalf of the Diabetes Federation of Ireland and the healthcare company Sanofi.

The research has been published to coincide with changes to the HbA1C clinical measurements for diabetes which come into effect from January 1st, 2012.

The Know Your Numbers! campaign aims to help people with diabetes minimise their risk of developing a complication relating to the condition.

The campaign is supported by the HSE and the Irish Pharmacy Union.

Currently, the HbA1C test measures the amount of glucose in the blood and monitors how well diabetes has been controlled in the previous two to three months.

HbA1C is the name given to a chemical reaction that causes glucose to stick to the haemoglobin in the red blood cells.

The new unit measurements for reporting HbA1C will prevent any mix-up between glucose and HbA1C results.

Obesity is one of the most common causes of diabetes, and losing weight can be one of the most cost-efficient ways of preventing it.

Other risk factors include not getting enough exercise and being over 45 years of age.

Type 2 diabetes can lead to heart disease and strokes, kidney trouble and also lower limb amputation in some cases.

Prof Sreenan said it takes an average of 12 years between the onset of type 2 diabetes and its diagnosis, by which time it is often too late for many sufferers.

Type 2 diabetes has been described as a ticking timebomb across the developed world as people live longer and obesity continues to increase.

It is estimated that there are 180,000 people in Ireland with type 1 and type 2 diabetes.

That figure is expected to rise to 233,000 by 2020.

It is believed that 146,000 people in Ireland have undetected pre-diabetes and will have type 2 diabetes within five years unless they take action.

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