Health chiefs in Brighton and Hove said that up to one in three diabetes sufferers may not realise that they have a potentially deadly condition.
They are marking Diabetes Week by urging anyone with a range of symptoms to see their doctor and adopt a healthier lifestyle.
Brighton and Hove City Teaching Primary Care Trust (PCT) said: “Diabetes is a serious condition that, if left untreated, can lead to heart disease, stroke, nerve damage and blindness.”
More than 9,000 people in Brighton and Hove are estimated to suffer from diabetes, according to the PCT, which is also known as NHS Brighton and Hove.
But health chiefs said that up to a third of local people with diabetes may not have had their condition diagnosed and be unaware that they are at risk of health complications.
Jo Matthews, the long-term conditions lead at NHS Brighton and Hove, said: “There are ways to reduce the risks of getting diabetes or, if you’ve been diagnosed, to help control complications and symptoms of the condition.
“Lifestyle changes can make all the difference, with losing weight the most important step you can take to reduce your likelihood of developing type 2 diabetes and potentially serious complications.
“Local councils and organisations run weight management programmes for adults and families who want to lose weight.
“You can also improve your health through increased activity and healthy eating via the Change4Life Healthy Passport Club – visit www.healthyclub.nhs.uk for more information.”
The PCT said people experiencing the common symptoms of diabetes should see their GP. Those symptoms include
- Increased thirst
- Going to the toilet more often than usual especially at night
- Extreme tiredness
- Unexplained weight loss
- General itching or regular episodes of thrush
- Blurred vision
NHS Brighton and Hove said that there are two main types of diabetes
- Type 1 which is when the body cannot produce insulin. This type usually occurs before the age of 40 and accounts for only about 10 per cent of all cases. It is the most common form of childhood diabetes.
- Type 2 which this is when the body doesn’t make enough insulin or when the body builds up a resistance to insulin so it does not work effectively. This type is the most common form of diabetes and accounts for about 90 per cent of all cases. It is frequently linked to being overweight.
Those most at risk of developing type 2 diabetes include people with a family history of the condition, the over 40s – mainly those who are overweight – and people of African Caribbean or South Asian descent.
People of South Asian origin are up to six times more likely and people of African Caribbean origin up to five times more likely to develop diabetes compared to the general population.
They are also more likely to develop complications as a result of diabetes such as heart disease at a younger age than the rest of the population.
Diabetes Week runs until Saturday (18 June).
For more information about Diabetes Week, visit www.diabetes.org.uk.
For information about free, healthy lifestyle and weight programmes in Brighton and Hove such as MEND and Shape-up for adults and children, visit www.bhfood.org.uk.
For information about support in Brighton and Hove for people with diabetes, visit www.ipbh.org.uk.