At crisis levels – some experts describe the increase in the number of people with type 2 diabetes.
New data published last week showed that in England and Wales alone more than 200,000 new cases were diagnosed in 2017, the equivalent of one diagnosis every three minutes.
& # 39; In an average GP practice, it is not uncommon for every second or third patient to have type 2 or pre-diabetes diabetes, & # 39 ;, says Dr. Campbell Murdoch, a Somerset general practitioner and chief physician of the global online diabetes community. .uk.
& # 39; We are going through a crisis, both for individual patients and for healthcare, that is being flooded by this problem. & # 39;
Shocking new data from last week revealed that in 2017 more than 200,000 new cases were diagnosed in England and Wales alone
Type 2 diabetes occurs when the body becomes resistant to the effects of the hormone insulin, which is produced in the pancreas and extracts glucose (sugar) from the bloodstream and into the cells. When people become overweight, this process becomes less effective, so more and more insulin is needed to do the job.
Ultimately, the pancreas becomes overwhelmed and starts producing less insulin, causing more glucose to circulate, resulting in type 2 diabetes.
Not everyone who is overweight will develop type 2: genes play a role, just like gender. & # 39; A man with excess fat deposits in the abdomen is more likely to develop type 2 than an equivalent woman & # 39 ;, says Dr. Alex Miras, senior teacher and endocrinologist at Imperial College in London.
Alarming research published yesterday emphasized why type 2 diabetes is not a diagnosis that should be taken lightly.
A study based on more than 300,000 patients revealed that people who are diagnosed in middle age or younger lose more years of their lives than older people.
"Those diagnosed with type 2 lose more than a decade in life in adolescence, people aged 40 to 50 lose about six years, while once over 80 there is no loss of years of life," says Naveed Sattar, professor of metabolic medicine at the University of Glasgow and lead author of the study, published in the journal Circulation.
Michael Short, 51, a NHS health care assistant, lives in Wakefield, Yorkshire and was diagnosed in January
And from middle age, some people can develop type 2 with even a modest weight gain, he explains.
On the other hand, it takes a lot of weight gain for younger people to activate it, because their pancreas are more efficient and therefore able to drain more insulin. However, their extra weight means that they are likely to have high blood pressure and other risk factors for diabetic complications.
The risk of complications can be reduced in some cases with medication and significant weight loss (either achieved through surgery or diet), plus lifestyle changes.
One approach that delivers impressive results is a carbohydrate-restricted diet, as the Mail reveals in a large series that starts tonight.
Although some people have typical symptoms of type 2 diabetes – such as extreme tiredness, thirst, or peeing more than usual – others have none, so they will not know something is wrong.
We spoke to four people, all recently diagnosed within a few weeks of each other.
Their stories emphasize one of the most important factors behind the growing tide of type 2 diabetes – and produce beneficial results. . .
IT COMES DOWN TO? I WAS OBESE
Michael Short, 51, a NHS healthcare assistant, lives in Wakefield, Yorkshire, with his wife Jill, 57, a retired nurse. He was diagnosed on January 15.
From about November last year I really fought with a lack of energy: I came home from work and fell asleep.
Karen Hewitt, 59, an NHS practice manager and mother of two, was diagnosed in February
My wife Jill told the doctor that I was snoring badly and in the beginning he suspected sleep apnea, where you temporarily stop breathing while you sleep, waking you up all night.
Just like type 2 diabetes, it often happens if you are overweight. At the time I weighed 17th 8lb, and at 6ft long, my body mass index (BMI) was 33 – classified as & # 39; obese & # 39 ;.
I was referred to a sleep specialist, but in the meantime my tiredness meant trying to get through a day at work was like wading through syrup. I spent my days sleeping.
While until recently my hobbies were walking and nature photography, I now had no energy for them.
On New Year's Day I hit a low point. I felt that I could not go to work and I was really thirsty despite drinking a lot of water.
I saw a doctor on January 10 and a few days later I got the results of blood tests showing that my HbA1c (which measures the average blood sugar levels in three months) was 61 – the threshold for diabetes is 48.
I knew from my work as an NHS assistant how serious type 2 can be, and I just couldn't believe it had happened to me. My weight gain has escalated over the past five years, but I thought I could get away with it because I was at work all day at a young age. The diagnosis was a massive wake-up call. I knew that my diet was terrible. At the hospital I always dived into the chocolate and bought up to 15 small bottles of sweet cider a week when I didn't work the next day.
Teamwork didn't help, because I ate at irregular times. And I ate a lot of carbohydrates – about seven slices of bread a day, plus cookies and cake.
The practice nurse advised me to follow the Eatwell Plate approach, with about 38 percent of the calories on your plate from carbohydrates, 40 percent from fruits and vegetables, 12 percent from proteins, 8 percent from dairy products or alternatives and 1 percent from oil or spreads.
And that is why you should take it seriously
Poorly regulated type 2 diabetes is associated with a series of serious complications, including blindness and amputations. Here we explain why.
High blood sugar levels can almost double the chance of a heart attack or stroke, compared to someone with healthy values, the British Heart Foundation says.
This is because it damages the inner walls of the arteries by disrupting the release of nitric oxide, a gas produced by all cells in the body, and keeping the blood vessels elastic and elastic so that the blood can flow freely through it.
With too little nitric oxide, the arteries become stiff and narrow, which increases blood pressure, which can lead to inflammation. This in turn makes it more likely that plaques will form, blocking blood flow to the heart or brain – and possibly causing a heart attack or stroke.
Just as high blood sugar damages large blood vessels around the heart, it does the same for small blood vessels at the back of the eye that provide nutrients to the retina – the area responsible for converting light into signals sent to the brain.
High sugar levels begin to cause inflammation in these small blood vessels, which can block or weaken them completely so that they start to leak – reducing blood flow to the retina.
The body's natural healing response is to form scar tissue and grow new blood vessels. But these often grow randomly and over the surface of the retina. Over time, the combination of scar tissue and new blood vessels leads to a serious loss of vision. It causes around 1,200 cases of blindness in the UK every year.
Amputations of the lower limbs due to type 2 diabetes are at a record high. This is because persistently high blood sugar levels can damage the nerves. As a result, patients may be injured, but they know nothing about it.
High blood sugar also causes a cocktail of harmful reactions; the immune system, perceiving damage, sends excessive amounts of cells, called cytokines, to resolve things. But this & # 39; rush & # 39; too many cytokines also harms the nerves.
The other problem is that too much sugar reduces blood flow by damaging blood vessel walls. This means that wounds can be starved from the oxygen they need to heal.
As a result, an undetected injury can become infected or ulcerate, possibly leading to gangrene and amputation.
Diabetic foot ulcers affect approximately 15 percent of those with the condition.
Kidney disease is probably one of the least known complications, but as many as one in four adults with diabetes has it, according to the US National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.
The most important work of the kidneys is to filter waste and extra water from the blood; they also help keep blood pressure under control and make vital hormones.
Very high blood sugar levels block the small filters in the blood vessels of the kidney.
If blood sugar levels are well managed, the damage can be controlled. If this is not the case, it will gradually get worse and some patients will receive dialysis.
I followed this religiously, but within days it felt worse. After eating a baked potato with breaded fish and peas, I felt lightheaded and the TV screen looked blurry.
I then heard how accessible carbohydrates can help. The NHS accepts that this can be useful and has approved the Low Carb Program app, which minimizes all major sources of carbohydrates, such as bread and rice.
I had more energy within 24 hours. I felt sharper and the blurred vision disappeared.
Almost three months later I lost the 3rd and got my mojo back. My blood sugar is in the normal range (my last reading was 39), so I put my diabetes in remission. Like many people, I didn't really think enough about the risk that my weight caused. Being overweight is not just about how you look; it can shorten your life.
I HAD & # 39; PREGNANCY & # 39; DIABETES YEARS AGO
Karen Hewitt, 59, an NHS practice manager and mother of two, lives in Liverpool with husband David, 61, an airport baggage handler. She was diagnosed on February 1.
I am fully aware that being overweight is the most important risk factor for type 2, but when a blood test showed in 2015 that my blood sugar level was just below the diabetic threshold, I stuck my head in the sand.
I was 12th 6lb and I am 5ft 5in, so my BMI was 29 – & over 39; overweight & # 39 ;.
That test should have been a wake-up call, but I'm embarrassed to say I didn't take it seriously.
I had a hard time since I had children. I also developed gestational diabetes when I was pregnant with my daughter Rachel, now 33, which is a risk factor for type 2 later in life. I like chocolate and red wine and was eating large portions. I joined a gym in 2016, but the exercise was through sciatica and I had to give up.
In January I started feeling tired and tousled, with cold after cold, so I went to my doctor. A blood test showed that my HbA1c values were 64. Despite the previous warnings, I was shocked.
This time I am really motivated to do something, because I know that if you lose enough weight, you can put diabetes in remission.
My doctor referred me for two groups of diabetes group sessions. In the meantime, I use metformin to lower my blood sugar level and have changed my diet (low in carbohydrate). I also walk more with the dog and I am more active.
I have lost a stone within six weeks and my HbA1c levels have been reduced to 57. By the time I am 60 years old in November, I want them in the normal range.
LONG HOURS DO NOT READ TIME FOR EXERCISE
Darron Broadhurst, 51, an IT engineer, lives with his wife Sarah, 40, an accountant, and their two teenage children in Worcester. He was diagnosed in mid-January.
The fact that I'm a big guy can't be taken away – my waist is 52 inches. The last time I was weighed (six months ago) I was more than the 23rd. With a length of 6ft, my BMI is more than 40 – & # 39; obese & # 39 ;.
So when I was diagnosed with type 2 after a routine blood test, it was no surprise. But it was scary. My mother had type 2, developed kidney problems and therefore had a minor stroke. It scared me. I want to be around to see my children grow up.
I know I have to lose weight, but I am obsessed with food. I always stop at the supermarket to get more. I eat a full English breakfast twice a week, as well as pastries, cookies and takeaways, and I love whiskey – I probably drink too much. I have a sitting job and a long journey (traveling 100 miles two days a week), so I am too exhausted to think about exercising. I also suffer from depression and when my mood is low, I comfort myself. Then I get even more depressed and binge again.
Andy Capon, 53, a factory floor worker from Faversham in Kent, was diagnosed on January 3
I lost weight three times before, most recently at a weight loss club, prescribed by the NHS, a few years ago, when I lost third place. But when the financing ended, the weight went on. I can't pay to pay for it myself.
Fortunately the doctors think my diabetes was picked up early, but now it's up to me to make big changes. I have already started cutting my portions – my & # 39; full English & # 39; is now just a poached egg on toast with baked beans. I enjoyed walking a lot and I intend to do more with it. I also use the medicine metformin.
Somehow I have to find the willpower to make some very big changes in lifestyle or diabetes will shorten my life.
BEER WAS MY DOWNFALL
Andy Capon, 53, a factory floor from Faversham in Kent is single. He was diagnosed on January 3.
When my doctor told me I had type 2 diabetes, I hardly knew anything about it. So I googled it – and scared myself to death. Amputations threatened to become blind. I had no idea that diabetes could be so serious.
The irony was that I only went to my doctor to talk about the antidepressants I had taken since 2016. I felt I was in a much better place, and he said: & okay, let's narrow your dose. But first I'll give you a blood test. & # 39; However, the doctor thought they had contracted diabetes early and said it was reversible through diet and exercise.
Knowing what I know now, I am not surprised that I have developed type 2. I had an irresponsible lifestyle, but at the time I had no idea what I was doing with my body.
Darron Broadhurst, 51, an IT engineer, was diagnosed in mid-January
My biggest problem was liquor. I wouldn't touch a drop during the week, but I like real ales and between finishing a Friday and going back on Monday I would have too many pints. I would also eat pastries, white bread and large curries. I didn't do an exercise.
But immediately after my diagnosis I stopped drinking, I had salads and no sandwiches for lunch and I cut out the junk food. I also went to a gym and went four times a week. I was 17th (I am 5ft 7in) when I was diagnosed, but by the end of February I had fallen back to the 15th 7lb. For the first time in 53 years I felt great. I had more energy and people said they have never seen me look so good.
Then I was diagnosed with a thumb tumor in my bladder. Hearing the word & # 39; cancer & # 39; was horrible. I admit that I went to the pub that evening on February 22 and got drunk. I stopped going to the gym and started drinking again.
Two weeks ago they removed the tumor and I am waiting to hear if I need chemotherapy. But I have found my way again. The past week I went back to the gym and I love beer.
I can't do anything about the cancer, but I can do something about my diabetes.
I know people with type 2 who take tablets for it, but do nothing about their lifestyle. But I have this opportunity to tackle diabetes through diet and exercise and I will not let this pass me by.
For more information, visit diabetes.org.uk or diabetes.co.uk
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