2021 is even more special as it marks 100 years since insulin was discovered, a breakthrough which has saved millions of lives.
What is insulin?
Insulin is a hormone created by your pancreas that controls the amount of glucose in your bloodstream at any given moment. It also helps store glucose in your liver, fat, and muscles. Finally, it regulates your body’s metabolism of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins. Sound important? That’s because it is.
If your body doesn’t make insulin or doesn’t make enough, you are eventually diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. On the other hand, if your body doesn’t use insulin properly, you might develop type 2 diabetes.
It’s very important that people with diabetes have a good control of their condition to help them avoid long term complications.
Diabetes : what are the headlines?
- 50% of people with diabetes are currently undiagnosed. That’s roughly 232 million people.
- One in 11 people are living with diabetes. That’s 463 million adults but that number is expected to rise to 578 million by 2030.
- Two-thirds of people with diabetes live in urban areas and three-quarters are of working age.
- 1 in 5 people with diabetes are above 65 years old.
- Diabetes is a serious condition, causing 4.2 million deaths worldwide in 2019.
- A new report has projected that the NHS’s annual spending on diabetes in the UK will increase from £9.8 billion to £16.9 billion over the next 25 years, a rise that means the NHS would be spending 17% of its entire budget on the condition.
- The report also suggests that the cost of treating complications from diabetes is expected to almost double from £7.7 billion to £13.5 billion by 2035.
What are the symptoms?
Many people have type 2 diabetes without realising. This is often because the symptoms don’t necessarily make you feel unwell.
Symptoms of type 2 diabetes could include:
- peeing more than usual, particularly at night
- feeling thirsty all the time
- feeling very tired
- losing weight without trying to
- itching around your penis or vagina, or repeatedly getting thrush
- cuts or wounds taking longer to heal
- blurred vision
Could you be at risk? You're more at risk of developing type 2 diabetes if you:
- are over 40 (or 25 for south Asian people)
- have a close relative with diabetes (such as a parent, brother or sister)
- are overweight or obese
- are of Asian, African-Caribbean or black African origin (even if you were born in the UK)
Don’t wait until is too late. Act now! Check your risk with the NHS Risk Checker here
Help is available
There are many local support groups and Diabetes UK has several groups in Kent. You can find out more about them here
Groups can help you manage your diabetes on a daily basis, offer information about diet and exercise or support dealing with the emotional side of the condition. You’ll get to meet people who are also living with diabetes.
Source: NHS, Diabetes UK and the International Diabetes Federation