Diabetes is one of the fastest growing health threats in the UK, with the number of people living with this condition having doubled in the last 20 years. It is estimated that around 549,000 people in the UK who have diabetes have not yet been diagnosed.1 These shocking figures highlight the importance of the need to improve our knowledge of diabetes and support organisations such as Diabetes UK. Every year, they dedicate a week to bring supporters and campaigners together to help increase awareness of this condition while raising essential funds for their life changing work.
Join Randox Biosciences this week as we explore the facts surrounding diabetes to investigate why so many people are yet to be diagnosed and also understand the myths and misconceptions about this condition. To support Diabetes UK, we are setting the record straight!
What is Diabetes?
Diabetes is a lifelong disease which occurs when the pancreas does not produce enough insulin or when the body cannot effectively use the insulin it produces. This results in an increased level of glucose in the blood (hyperglycaemia). As many people are aware, diabetes commonly comes in two forms, Type 1 and Type 2.
Type 1 diabetes is due to a lack of insulin production in the body because the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas have been destroyed. In the UK, around 10% of those who have diabetes have been diagnosed with type 1, and will require insulin injections for the rest of their lives.
Type 2 diabetes is far more common as it accounts for around 90% of all diabetes worldwide. It occurs because the body is either not producing enough insulin or the insulin it is making is not being used properly. It can be described as the more manageable type of diabetes as it can normally be controlled with a healthy diet, exercise and closely monitoring your blood glucose levels.2
Myths and Misconceptions
In order to manage diabetes effectively, it is vital to know the correct information and be aware of the myths that surround the condition. Common misconceptions include the theory that type 2 is a mild form of diabetes. This is completely inaccurate as all forms of diabetes are serious and need to be monitored closely. Common misunderstandings also revolve around the diet of someone with diabetes. Some believe that you cannot have sugar at all, when really, ensuring that you have a healthy and balanced diet is all that matters. Additionally, the assumption that diabetic specific foods should only be consumed is also inaccurate as these are generally high in fat and calories and can still affect a person’s blood glucose levels.1
Common misunderstandings about diabetes have been linked to the worrying rise in the number of undiagnosed people with the condition. It is thought that the vast amount of available incorrect information has negatively affected our understanding of diabetes and has contributed to the continual increase in the amount of those undiagnosed. Research has shown that only 1 in 100 people could clearly identify the main symptoms and only 1 in 5 could spot a single one3. It is imperative that clear and concise information is easily available so people understand the symptoms they should be looking out for. Once a diagnosis has been made, those with diabetes can seek appropriate treatment to manage their condition and lead a healthy lifestyle, while reducing their risk of developing serious complications associated with diabetes.
This Diabetes Week, we encourage you to make yourself aware of all the symptoms to not only support those affected by diabetes but also to protect yourself and your loved ones.
The Randox Metabolic Syndrome Arrays
Metabolic syndrome is a group of cardiovascular risk factors that is highly prevalent, with approximately 20-25% of adults affected. It is estimated that having metabolic syndrome results in a person being three times more likely to have a stroke or heart attack, and five times more likely to develop diabetes. Underlying risk factors of metabolic syndrome include abdominal obesity, insulin resistance, physical inactivity, aging and hormonal imbalance.
At Randox Biosciences, we are committed to our continual research into a variety of conditions including diabetes to improve health worldwide. To gain a better understanding of the ways in which metabolic functions affect a person’s cardiovascular system, we have created our Metabolic Syndrome Arrays. Utilising our patented Biochip Array Technology, the arrays simultaneously measure 12 markers associated with metabolic syndrome and cardiovascular disease.
Would you like to learn more? Join us on Twitter this week by using the official hashtag #DiabetesWeek or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
1 Diabetes UK
2 World Health Organisation
3 Daily Mail