Rise in the incidence of diabetes

A recent report from the World Health Organisation (WHO) showed that the incidence of diabetes had quadrupled between 1980 and 2014. It is estimated that 1 in 11 adults worldwide are affected and this number is set to rise further.

However, the report fails to make a distinction between Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes although it is suggested that the rise is due to an increase in numbers of people suffering from Type 2.

Type 1 diabetes is an auto-immune condition where (for reasons that aren’t fully understood) the body’s immune system attacks the cells in the pancreas which produce insulin causing them to stop producing it. It is more common in childhood, although it can develop in later life.  Type 2 diabetes tends to develop later in life and is caused by the insulin cells not functioning properly and failing to produce enough insulin.  There is a link between Type 2 and lifestyle but there is also a genetic link (although stories in the press about Type 2 and diabetes in general are very often unfairly illustrated with photographs of doughnuts!)

The complications of diabetes such as amputation of limbs and sight loss are widely reported. Sadly, the symptoms of it are often not.  In order to avoid complications it is vital that a person with diabetes keeps their blood glucose levels within a reasonable range.  Early diagnosis, whether Type 1 or Type 2, is vital as a long period of uncontrolled blood glucose levels can have long term consequences.

The main symptoms to look out for are thirst, passing more urine (particularly at night), feeling tired and weight loss. The tests to diagnose it are fairly simple and can be arranged by a GP.

Unfortunately, it can often go undiagnosed even when a patient consults their GP or other healthcare professional. We have successfully acted for patients who have suffered as a consequence of a delayed diagnosis of diabetes.  If you or a family member has been affected by a delay in diagnosis or any treatment in relation to diabetes, that you feel was substandard, please do not hesitate to contact us for a free, confidential discussion.