"NEARLY 200,000 people in Ireland will suffer from diabetes by 2015, medical experts predicted yesterday.
Obesity is the main factor being blamed for the estimated 37pc increase expected in the disease over the next eight years.
The stark figures are contained in a new report published by the All-Ireland Institute of Public Health, which says that by 2015 around 193,944 people in the Republic will be diagnosed with diabetes - up from 141,000 two years ago.
In the same period, the number of those diagnosed with the disease in the North will have increased by 26pc.
Most of those affected will develop Type 2 diabetes, which is linked to such lifestyle factors as overweight and lack of exercise.
Commenting on the report, Dr James Kiely, chief medical officer of the Department of Health, said: "We are facing a dramatic rise in diabetes. This is largely due to the sharp rise in obesity and stresses the importance of well-organised and sustained efforts in prevention."
The report calls for a comprehensive All-Ireland system for monitoring the prevalence of excessive weight and obesity here, as well as the factors causing the problem.
"High-quality diabetes registers should be urgently established and maintained on the island of Ireland, North and South, with a view to creating an All-Ireland Register."
It also stresses the need for more studies to be carried to to examine the level of Type 1 and 2 diabetes among people up to the age of 19 and also the prevalence in older age groups.
Efforts also need to be made to look at the ethnic origins of people who are diagnosed with the illness, it says.
The report predicts that more men than women will develop the disease due to their higher rates of obesity.
Type 2 diabetes can cause serious complications, including heart disease and stroke. It is also responsible for kidney damage and eyesight problems which can result in blindness. The danger is that many people have no outward Type 2 symptoms and can go years without being diagnosed.
Symptoms include being unusually thirsty, having to urinate often, feeling hungry all the time, losing weight, blurry vision, feeling very tired or frequent infections.
Services to treat obesity here are under severe strain and currently the only specialist treatment service for adults is the weight-management clinic in St Columcille's Hospital, Loughlinstown, Dublin. It continues to have a huge waiting list.
There are plans to open weight-management clinics in the Mercy Hospital in Cork and University College Hospital in Galway. But it will be the end of the year before the services are up and running, with the necessary staff in place."
In the last year alone I know of three folk diganosed with diabetes, the Paramour's uncle, a man in his fifties, a chap I know, a man in his forties and a girl I used to work with, who is-get this-thirty. In all three cases the trigger is surely lifestyle, rich food, lack of regular exercise and increasing weight.
Because diabetes is a controllable disease people don't seem to give it the respect it deserves. Lets have a gander at those complications again. Having type 2 diabetes increases your risk of heart disease (cardiovascular disease), blindness (retinopathy), nerve damage (neuropathy), and kidney damage (nephropathy). In severe cases it can lead to amputation.
Not so cuddly a disease.
Diabetes is the fifth leading cause of death by disease in the United States. Nearly 21 million children and adults nationwide suffer from diabetes and another 41 million are at risk for the condition. If present trends continue, one in three Americans, and one in two minorities, born in 2000 will develop diabetes in their lifetime.
According to the American Diabetes Association the first treatment for type 2 diabetes is often meal planning for blood sugar control, weight loss, and exercising. weight loss and exercise, two relatively simple life style changes that can have far reaching implication to a person's over- all health.
So why are we as a nation growing fatter? Why are we piling on the pounds? Why do we not address our expanding waists, our diet of convenience, our soft drink addictions ( we were 4th in a recent study of soft drink consumption in 15 years olds, behind USA 3rd Israel 2nd, and Northern Ireland romping how the clear winner with 71% of it 15 year olds drinking a soft drink daily).
Why are we choosing to ignore the rising epidemic in our midst? Is it laziness? Head in the sand? What?
People need to take care with what they eat, people need to get moving. People need to stop making excuses. 'Oh I never get time to exercise' is nonsense, make time. Cut out an hour's television and walk, get up earlier and go to the gym. Don't eat so much packaged food, swap water from a soft drink. Notice your pants getting tight? Don't buy a bigger pair, or blame the washing machine/dry cleaner, (my mother's favourite) it's a sign. Give the bus a miss once or twice a week and walk to work (I know it's raining. Swap from white bread to wholemeal and eat less of it, cut down on the booze, eat smaller portions.
Everyone can do something to limit their chances of getting this disease, and they should, because once you have it is yours. Don't wait for a doctor to tell you that you've got to start eating right and exercising to control your diabetes, do it before you need a doctor, do it before diabetes take a foot hold.
It's the greatest service you'll ever give yourself.
Labels: tough love