Early diagnosis call over local diabetics

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AMPUTATIONS, heart attacks and strokes are just some of medical crises far more likely to hit people suffering from diabetes.

The National Diabetes Audit has revealed stark contrasts in complications for those living in the borough with the condition, compared with those who do not.

Other findings included a 64.2 per cent increased risk of angina, 37 per cent more likely to suffer a heart attack and 25 per cent more likely to have a stroke.

The risk of minor amputations was 410 per cent higher and 300 per cent more for major amputations.

The National Diabetes Audit report highlights these complications, as well as deaths in people with diabetes.

The audit confirms and quantifies these risks, and provides recommendations on how the NHS can benefit from addressing the complications of diabetes, and how this can improve the lives of people with diabetes.

Diabetes makes it difficult for the body to control blood sugar levels.

High blood sugar levels can damage blood vessels and lead to range of complications.

Dr Kate Ardern, executive director of Public Health for the Borough of Wigan said: “This national study details the harm that diabetes can do because high sugar levels in the blood damage the lining of blood vessels everywhere around the body.

“So we need to think of diabetes as a disease that affects the whole body. This is why we are so keen to find and treat cases of diabetes as early as possible.  

“The longer the high sugar levels remain unchecked the more damage is being done to the heart, kidneys, eyes and blood vessels supplying the brain and limbs.

“This damage builds up gradually over the years, often without causing symptoms, or symptoms which patients may not discuss with their doctor at an early stage.

“It is so important that people with diabetes take control of their disease and don’t wait for major problems to occur. When complications do arise we do our best to treat people but much of the damage which has already occurred cannot be reversed.

“I would urge any people who find that they are excessively thirsty; have to pass water frequently or developing frequent skin infections to discuss these symptoms with their GP.”

The findings have brought about concerns for NHS chiefs.

Anna Morton, who leads national improvement team NHS Diabetes, said: “These findings show just how central effective diabetes management is in preventing heart attacks, strokes, kidney disease and amputations. There needs to be a continued focus on the effective prevention and management of diabetes by healthcare professionals and managers.

“People with diabetes need to be aware that these risks are real and they should ask their GP if they have had all nine annual care checks to monitor their overall health.

“By having these checks each year and acting on the findings, many of the serious complications of diabetes can be prevented.”