For World Diabetes Day today (14 November) Olympic rower and Diabetes UK Honorary Vice President, Sir Steve Redgrave CBE is urging people across the UK to go online and take Diabetes UK's free Risk Score test to find out whether they could be one of the hundreds of thousands of people in the UK who are unaware they have Type 2 diabetes.
Undiagnosed at risk of complications
Type 2 diabetes can go undetected for up to ten years and around half of people already show signs of complications by the time they are diagnosed. Early diagnosis and effective management of the condition are crucial in reducing the risk of developing life-changing complications such as heart disease, stroke, kidney failure, blindness and amputation.
Diabetes should never stop you from achieving anything you want
"The number of people diagnosed with diabetes in the UK has increased by more than 150,000 to 2.8 million in the past year," said Sir Steve.
"I discovered I had Type 2 diabetes at the height of my rowing career and know first-hand how the condition can dramatically change your life. But once diagnosed and under control, diabetes should never stop you from achieving anything you want – my gold medals at five consecutive Olympic Games are proof of that.
"For World Diabetes Day this year I’m asking people to go online and take Diabetes UK’s free Risk Score test to find out about their risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. If you find you are at increased risk it’s vital you go to your GP for a full blood test. People at increased risk of the condition can often decrease or even reverse their risk by losing weight, increasing their physical activity levels and improving their diet. Take the test – it could be the best thing you ever do for your health," said Steve.
Recognise risk factors and symptoms
The main risk factors for developing Type 2 diabetes are being overweight or having a large waist, being over 40 (or over 25 in Black and South Asian people) and having a close relative with diabetes.
The symptoms of diabetes include going to the toilet (urinating) more often, especially at night; increased thirst; extreme tiredness; unexplained weight loss; genital itching or regular episodes of thrush; slow healing of cuts and wounds; and blurred vision.