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Stepping Up On World Diabetes Day – 16,000 in Surrey Are Undiagnosed

Published on: 15 Nov, 2013
Updated on: 21 Nov, 2013
World Diabetes Day Ann Milton 2 475

Anne Milton against the clock to see how many step ups she could take in 30 seconds. Professor David Russell-Jones and the Mayor look on.

Are you at risk of diabetes? We all might be, it is the number one threat to health in the UK.

Around 3.75 million people have it and seven million are at a high risk of getting it. In Surrey 44,000 have been diagnosed with the disease but 16,000 are believed to remain undiagnosed.

Diabetes UK is a campaign with the Queen as its patron. They are particularly concerned with alerting the population to the risk of Type 2 diabetes. It is not a trivial matter. The disease can lead to blindness, kidney failure, heart disease heart disease stroke and even premature death.

Everyone is encouraged to check if they are in one of the higher risk groups which are:

  • those who are overwieight, especially if they have a large tummy
  • those who are over 40 (or over 25 if from South Asia)
  • Those who are black African, Caribbean or South Asian
  • those who have a parent, brother or sister with diabetes
  • those who have ever had high blood pressure, a heart attack or a stroke
  • those who have a diagnosed mental illness for which they take medication
  • women who have polycystic ovaries, gestational diabetes or a baby weighing over 10lbs

But the message is not all gloomy. There are things we can do to lower our risk: keep active, eat a balanced diet and maintain a healthy weight.

Yesterday (November 14) in the Friary Centre, Guildford’s MP Anne Milton and our Mayor, Cllr Diana Lockyer-Nibbs, as part of World Diabetes Day, attended an event to help publicise Diabetes UK’s message.

Stepping up together to help the World Diabetes Day Guildford's Mayor Cllr Diana Lockyer-Nibbs and Anne Milton MP

Stepping up together to help the World Diabetes Day Guildford’s Mayor Cllr Diana Lockyer-Nibbs and Anne Milton MP

Also at the event was Prof David Russell-Jones of the Cedar Centre centre at the Royal Surrey County Hospital. The professor, a renowned expert in the field of endocrinology (the study diseases that affect our glands), said: “I chose this area of work because I have always been interested in hormones and insulin, so I carried out some research on the subject.

“As a medical student, I conducted a study in Fiji where there is high prevalence of diabetes. I noticed that those in the towns suffered more than those in the villages who took more exercise. From then on I was hooked on the subject.

“So I trained with a consultant in London, created a team and moved to this area which has the Royal Surrey hospital and the University of Surrey, an up and coming university, it’s just got into the Guardian top eight, conveniently close together.

“Our research team has really benefited from the move and are producing more and more academic papers. The Royal Surrey is a very good science hospital. We feel we can really make a difference.

“Diabetes is probably going to be the biggest pandemic the world has ever seen. More and more sufferers are being identified every day so this world campaign is very important to increase awareness and adopt preventative measures.

“It is estimated that by 2030 one in ten of the UK’s population will have diabetes. We are all getting bigger, so if we are genetically predisposed to the more common Type 2 diabetes,  and we put on weight and take little exercise then we are more likely to develop it as we grow older.”

Anne Milton said: “I am always very keen to support campaigns on health. Diabetes is a growing problem but Type 2 diabetes can be prevented through better diet and exercise. It’s never easy to find the time to exercise but if we understand the risks then finding that time gets easier! Well done to all involved in the campaign and spreading the message!”

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