Could missing routine diabetes checks be putting you at risk?
Now is the time to get your routine diabetes checks.
World Diabetes Awareness Day started in 1991 in response to the escalating health threat posed by diabetes. It is marked every year on 14 November, the birthday of Sir Frederick Banting, who co-discovered the treatment for Type 1 diabetes – insulin (with Charles Best).
A century after its discovery, insulin, and other diabetes treatments still remain beyond the reach of millions of people with diabetes across the world. People with diabetes require ongoing care and support to manage their condition and avoid complications.
And that everyone’s story of life with diabetes is different.
With the help of organisations like Diabetes UK you don’t have to through it alone. Hear from people living with Diabetes here
Living with type 2
In the UK type 2 diabetes is one of the fastest-growing conditions – over 4.9 million people in the UK are living with diabetes, and over 90% of them have type 2 diabetes. That number has doubled in just 15 years.
Without the right treatment, people with type 2 diabetes are at greatly increased risk of heart attack and stroke, eye damage, kidney disease, and heart failure.
If you have type 2 diabetes, making healthy changes to your lifestyle can greatly reduce your risk of complications. This includes keeping your weight to healthy levels, exercising regularly, and taking care of your diet.
Some people can get their type 2 diabetes ‘into remission with diet and lifestyle changes. But for many, the right medication is needed. Knowing what medication you need depends on your getting monitoring checks, including testing for HbA1c, which offers an insight into your average blood glucose levels over the previous 3 months.
The problem behind the scenes of the pandemic
Strains on the NHS have wreaked havoc with the care available to the millions of people with health conditions like diabetes.
During the pandemic, the number of people having their HbA1c monitored dropped by about 77% While things improved significantly once the first lockdown ended, by October 2020, routine HbA1c monitoring was still down by about 31% compared to pre-pandemic levels. (Statistics provided by Patient Access.com)
At the same time, disruption to regular routines meant that across the whole adult population, more than 2 in 5 people in England say they gained weight (an average of almost half a stone) – and weight gain is closely linked to worsening blood glucose control among people with type 2 diabetes.
This Sunday the 14th of November marks the centenary of the discovery of insulin and provides an opportunity to raise awareness for people in our local area living with type 1 or type 2 diabetes.
How can you help?
- Join the #IfNotNowWhen Campaign and Global Diabetes walk by exercising in blue on the 14th of November
- Organise a ‘Learn about diabetes’ event in schools.
- Organise or participate in a local diabetes awareness walk.
- Light up a local landmark, your home or workplace in blue.
- Arrange an activity with your work colleagues.
- Help people learn their potential risk of type 2 diabetes with this online test.
If you have type 2 diabetes, now is the time to contact your practice to arrange a check-up. We welcome your feedback and shared experiences of diabetes in the comments and on our reviews pages which will support people who have diabetes in our community with useful information and support.