Diabetes Week highlights rise of disease in Fareham and Gosport

Chief Correspondent Rob Thomas

 THE number of people with diabetes in Gosport and Fareham is increasing underlining the importance of the annual campaign of Diabetes Week to raise awareness of the disease and the treatments that are available.

Next Monday – June 14 – is the start of Diabetes Week which will largely be online this year due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Diabetes UK’s website –  lists and has links to a range of activities as well as recording the stories of people coping with the disease.

The charity’s website highlights two main types of diabetes both of which mean a person’s pancreas is not producing enough insulin – in the case of Type 1, not producing any insulin – to regulate the amount of glucose in the bloodstream. If either type remains untreated it can cause damage to important parts of the body, such as the heart, eyes and feet.

According to Diabetes UK, about 90 per cent of people with diabetes have Type 2 and 8 per cent Type 1.

Statistics from Fareham & Gosport Clinical Commissioning Group show that in 2019/20 – the last full year for which figures are available – 13,023 patients (7.8% of the population) in the two boroughs were recorded as having diabetes, compared to 11,071 (6.7%) in 2015/16 and 9,347(5.7%) in 2012/13.

The symptoms of diabetes are varied and differ from person to person. The NHS and Diabetes UK identify the following as the most common: going to the toilet more often, especially at night; being thirsty; feeling tired; losing weight; genital itching or thrush; blurred vision; feeling hungry more often; and cuts and wounds taking longer to heal.

Whiteley GP Dr Paul Howden, the diabetes lead for the South East Hampshire area of Hampshire, Southampton and Isle of Wight Clinical Commissioning Group, said that early diagnosis is important.

He added: “We continue to do a lot of work to support primary care clinicians to actively identify patients at risk of developing diabetes to ensure referral to the National Diabetes Prevention Programme.

“We are proud that the practices within our area remain the highest referrers within Hampshire into this evidence-based service which has resulted in significant numbers of our patients benefitting from the support and education, and associated weight reduction.

“Patients with type 2 diabetes can also take part in a weight management programme and support available from community-based services, supported by their GP practice which now has a realistic expectation that these interventions and associated weight reduction will put their diabetes into remission.”

Contacting Diabetes UK for support can be by phoning 0345 123 2399, or emailing helpline@diabetes.org.uk, and there is an online chat service.