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World Health Day and diabetes

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Diabetes UK made headlines yesterday ahead of World Health Day (today) withour storythat despite men being at more risk than women of Type 2 diabetes, many more women than men were using our online Know Your Risk tool to find out their risk of developing the condition.

Thanks to widespread coverage including the BBC News Channel, The Daily Mirror, Daily Express and The Huffington Post, as well as local and regional newspapers, radio and TV stations across the UK, we’ve seen a huge spike in the number of people using our Know Your Risk online tool. In fact we’ve had the most ever completions in one day from media coverage with about 10 times the usual number of people going online to find out their risk.

And the brilliant news is that 64 per cent of those completing the tool were men. That is great because men are at higher risk of developing Type 2 diabetes and yet previously only about 40 per cent of people completing the online tool were men. Yesterday, more than a third of the men who completed the tool found out they were at high risk of developing Type 2 diabetes and have been advised to visit their GP for further tests.

We are still very much in the news today, with the Daily Express, The Times and the Daily Mirror commenting on a new report released by the World Health Organisation highlighting the huge rise in the number of people living with diabetes across the world.

At the moment four million people are currently living with diabetes in the UK, of which an estimated 549,000 people have Type 2 diabetes but do not know it as they have not yet been diagnosed. It is estimated that, if nothing changes, five million people in the UK will be living with the condition by 2025, making the need to tackle this serious health condition more urgent than ever.

Libby Dowling, Senior Clinical Advisor at Diabetes UK, said: “While the World Health Organisation study attributes the increase in diabetes prevalence in Western Europe in part to an ageing population, it is crucial that we recognise the most important risk factor for Type 2 diabetes which is being overweight or obese – almost two in every three people in the UK are overweight or obese and therefore at increased risk of Type 2 diabetes.

“Unlike Type 1 diabetes which cannot be prevented and is not linked to lifestyle, we therefore have huge scope to turn around the outlook for Type 2, the most common form of diabetes, through helping people to maintain a healthy weight by eating ahealthy dietand being active so they can delay or even prevent onset of the condition. This is crucial as left untreated or poorly managed Type 2 diabetes can lead to devastating but avoidablecomplicationssuch as amputation, blindness and stroke.

“Understanding their risk of Type 2 diabetes, which is also linked to risk factors such as age, gender and ethnicity, is the first critical step to people being able to make any necessary lifestyle changes to reduce their risk of this serious health condition.”

This World Health Day we are encouraging people to go online tofind out their risk of Type 2 diabetes.

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