Mayor Talks Diabetes
Berkshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust professionals were joined by Reading’s new mayor, Councillor Deborah Edwards, at a diabetes roadshow in Broad Street Mall this week.
The theme of the event, on 14 June, was “Let’s Talk Diabetes” and staff were on hand to advise on diet and podiatry, as well as discuss all other aspects of the condition, such as the effect it can have on mental wellbeing and the importance of getting eyes screened.
Diane Birkinshaw, Team Leader for Diabetes Education, said: “If left untreated, diabetes can result in serious complications. But if it’s detected early and kept under control, the risk of associated problems is much less. There’s lots of help available for people who are worried about the condition.”
Councillor Edwards said: “I would encourage anyone who may be suffering from diabetes to be screened as soon as possible. It is nothing to be ashamed about and 90% of people with the condition can be treated by diet alone. Women and children especially fear to come forward for screening as they think they might be bullied or harassed. By holding events like this and talking about diabetes openly, we can dispel prejudice and fear. My grandmother suffered from diabetes towards the end of her life and it was controlled successfully by diet so people need to be aware that although it is a disease, it can be straight forward to treat in many cases.
More than half a million people in the UK are unaware that they suffer from diabetes and Berkshire itself has 28,000 people with the condition – including 15,000 in the Reading, Wokingham and West Berkshire areas – this number is expected to grow to 20,000 by 2015. Currently more than 2 million people suffer from the condition nationally.
Most of the risks linked to diabetes can be managed effectively with lifestyle advice about diet, weight management, exercise and in some cases medication. While many people are aware of the physical health risks associated with diabetes such as retina, kidney and nerve damage, the effect on emotional wellbeing is less well known. People diagnosed with diabetes have 2-3 times the rate of depression than the general population and those struggling with depression demonstrate lower levels of self care.
More information about diabetes is available here. Or visit NHS Choices, where there is a self-assessment test for type 2 diabetes (which affects 90% of diagnosed adults in the UK) and information about the symptoms of the disease.