Great Big Britons Face New Diabetes Shock

Tubby Brits look all set to come a close second to theUSin the obesity and diabetes stakes, with three million adults in the 70 millionUKpopulation now victims of the disease.  The country’s National Health Service is now spending a whacking tenth of its budget on treating the condition and its side effects, says the charity Diabetes UK.  Figures show diabetes has risen by almost 50% in the last five years, with 117,000 newly diagnosed cases in the last year alone.

Diabetes takes two common forms.  In type 1 diabetes, the victim is typically a young person or child whose immune system has attacked the beta cells in the pancreas that make insulin.  The type 1 diabetic will have to receive insulin injections for the rest of his life, and there is no prevention or cure yet for this disease.  Around 10% of all diabetics are type 1.  Type 2, however, is commonly triggered by age and obesity, and as people in the west eat more junk food and exercise less, the condition is affecting younger and younger people.  Type 2 may be managed without insulin with careful dieting and other medications such as metformin.  Both types of diabetes can lead to serious health effects such as heart disease and strokes, kidney failure, gangrene due to nerve damage and blindness.

DiabetesUKreports there are now 2.9 million people in theUKwith diagnosed diabetes – up by 900,000 since doctors first published statistics in 2005.  Doctors suspect there are up to one million cases still awaiting diagnosis.  Forty three percent of men and 33% of women are overweight, and one in four adults are classified as obese, with as many as one in ten children up to the age of ten being obese as well.  This rises to one in five at the age of ten.  A recent government report predicted that at the current rates 60% of men, 50% of women and a quarter of children would be obese by the year 2050.  As people age, their chances of being overweight and obese grow, and figures show the rates of pensioners being hospitalized because their weight is at a dangerous level has increased tenfold since five years ago.

Where only decades ago type 2 diabetes was almost unknown in children, more cases are being reported every year and it is now estimated there are around 1400 childhood cases.

TheUK’s overweight children stem from a number of factors, including the nation’s love affair with unhealthy fatty and sugary foods, fast foods and TV dinners.  But children also suffer from a lack of outdoor exercise as working parents encourage them to stay indoors from fear of traffic accidents and pedophiles.  Computer games and TV have also encouraged children – and adults – to become more sedentary.

Some symptoms of the disease are quite well known: increased thirst and need to pee, fatigue and sudden weight loss or gain.  Others include eye problems, with “floaters” in the eye and blurred vision, numbness, tingling or pains in the feet and hands.

DiabetesUKadvises that losing just 10% of your overall weight can halve your chances of getting diabetes.


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