An inch or two from diabetes?

October 23, 2006 3:50 PM
Tom Brake With Measuring Tape

Tom Brake Measures Up for Diabetes

Tom Brake, Liberal Democrat MP for Carshalton and Wallington, last Wednesday attended the Diabetes UK awareness day in Parliament, which aims to highlight waist measurement as a risk factor for Type 2 diabetes. Diabetes UK's Measure Up awareness campaign urges people to grab a tape measure and check their waistline as a quick and easy first step to assess their diabetes risk.

Research has shown that a large waist could mean you are up to twelve times more likely to develop diabetes. At risk waist measurements are 37 inches or more for men, except those of South Asian origin whose waists should not exceed 35 inches, and 31.5 inches or more for all women.

The campaign is also urging Primary Care Trusts (PCTs) to be proactive in ensuring that all people with diabetes are diagnosed early to help prevent the life-threatening complications of the condition. The most recent National results released by the Yorkshire and Humber Public Health Observatory show a significant regional disparity across England, with some PCTs having diagnosed only around half of their diabetic population. The average of people diagnosed across the UK is only 72 per cent, leaving over a quarter of people undiagnosed.

As part of the Measure Up campaign, the charity is also launching its 'Are you at risk?' online tool, a two minute interactive test, designed to help people understand how high their diabetes risk is. Measure Up aims to make people aware of the risk factors including waist size, weight, age, family history and ethnicity and encourage those with at least two risk factors to get themselves tested.

Tom Brake commented, 'The Sutton and Merton PCT has only managed to identify 79.2% of people with diabetes locally. While I'm proud that that statistic is well above the national average, it still leaves one-fifth of all people in the constituency suffering from diabetes undiagnosed. Thanks to Diabetes UK, perhaps some of the people who slip through the NHS will be able to get help with the new simple test.'

Douglas Smallwood, Chief Executive of Diabetes UK said, "There are 750,000 people in the UK who have diabetes but don't know it - that's equivalent to the entire population of Leeds. Many people don't realise they're at risk and shockingly can go undiagnosed for up to 12 years. The longer people are left undiagnosed, the higher their risk of heart attacks, blindness, kidney failure and amputations. Our health check could save many people from a future of ill health."

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