World Diabetes Day urges people to get proactive about their health

first_imgTO MARK WORLD Diabetes Day tomorrow, diabetes experts and groups are urging people to be proactive about their health and get tested for the disease.It’s predicted that by 2015, more than 194,000 people in Ireland will have diabetes.This is according to Diabetes Ireland who said, however, that without a register of people who have diabetes no one can be entirely sure how many people In Ireland live with the disease.Over 60sCurrently it is believed that one in 20 people have diabetes and one in eight people over 60 have it.The International Diabetes Federation says 371 million people in the world have diabetes and that one out of every two people with diabetes don’t even know they have it.For those people who live with diabetes, doctors are asking people to look after themselves by ensuring they are taking the appropriate steps to combat the risks of the disease.One risk the people who suffer from diabetes face is the possibility of blindness.Speaking to TheJournal.ie, Dr David Keegan, eye surgeon at the Mater Hospital and the Irish College of Ophthalmologist’s representative on the National Diabetic Retinal Screening Programme, said this is one of the conditions that can sneak up on people with diabetes.He said that people that suffer from diabetes should get regular eye exams in order to detect early symptoms of eye disease and enable effective treatment.He said the new National Diabetic Retinal Screening Programme announced this year aims to prevent sight loss for those with the condition.The screening programme aims to reach, over time, an estimated growing population of 190,000 patients aged 12 and older with diabetes in Ireland. “All sufferers of diabetes that are on the national register should be invited to get tested within the next 14 months,” he said.BlindnessDiabetes related eye disease  is a leading cause of new blindness among adults in Ireland, with over 18,000 people in Ireland estimated to have diabetic retinopathy.“People who have diabetic retinopathy often don’t notice change in their vision in the diseases early stages, but as it progresses, the disease usually causes vision loss that in many cases cannot be reversed, he said, adding that a regular examination by an eye doctor will enable early diagnosis and mean the treatment options to prevent sight loss,” he said.He said people can be walking around “oblivious” that their eye condition is progressing, that’s why it is so important get early detection and treatment. Of those that are detected on 25 per cent need a referral and only 5 per cent need treatment.Dr Keegan advises that the best protection against the progression of diabetic retinopathy and many other diabetic complications is good diabetic control of blood sugar and blood pressure and awareness of the risks.“The best medicine for diabetes is looking after your blood sugar levels, keeping them below 7 and not smoking,” he said.Some of the signs commonly experienced include: Frequent urinationExcessive thirstIncreased hungerWeight lossTirednessLack of interest and concentrationA tingling sensation or numbness in the hands or feetBlurred visionFrequent infectionsSlow-healing woundsVomiting and stomach pain (often mistaken as the flu)The development of type 1 diabetes is usually sudden and dramatic while the symptoms can often be mild or absent in people with type 2 diabetes, making this type of diabetes hard to detect.If you think you have these signs and symptoms, consult with your doctor today.Read: More than half of Irish people over 50 have two or more chronic diseases>Read: Could your soft drink habit give you diabetes?>last_img read more