Diabetes UK has dismissed suggestions from Ian Gibson MP (pictured) that the increase in Type 1 diabetes in Norfolk could be the result of "inbreeding".Latest figures have revealed that 345 young people in Norfolk have Type 1 diabetes, more than double the 160 predicted cases.
Dr Angela Wilson, Director of Research at Diabetes UK, said: "One of Diabetes UK’s role is to provide accurate information about diabetes as there are many misconceptions and misunderstandings about the condition. It has many causes: lifestyle, environment, and - as you would expect with any condition - genetics.""However the Norfolk data would indicate that genetics is unlikely to be the prime cause of this sudden increase in diabetes cases. Recent research has suggested that infection may be one cause.""Increased cleanliness and not exposing our children to formerly common germs is thought to make their immune system less able to cope with infection which results in Type 1 diabetes.""In Norfolk in recent years there has been a rapid influx of people carrying new infections into a previously stable and relatively isolated population and is more likely that this is a contributory factor."“It is important for everyone to understand how serious diabetes is and that everyone is potentially at risk. Poorly controlled diabetes can lead to complications including blindness, kidney failure, limb amputation, heart disease and stroke. People with diabetes can expect to live on average 10 to 20 years less than those without diabetes."“Dr Gibson’s comments this week haven’t helped people’s understanding of diabetes. However, he is correct in stating that the current increase in diabetes in Norfolk and indeed throughout the whole of the UK needs to be looked at as a priority.""As a high-profile public figure I hope Dr Gibson will ensure that diabetes is now raised up the political agenda and becomes a priority for government.”