Early identification and treatment of diabetes would prevent
its progression into life-threatening diseases
Up to 1 million people could have diabetes without realising
it, a national campaign has warned.
The Missing Million initiative, launched last month by
Diabetes UK, said that warning signs include excessive weight, being aged over
40 and being from a family with history of the condition. Those from ethnic
minorities are more likely to be affected.
The report published at the launch of the campaign compares
popular misconceptions with the facts. Around half of people newly diagnosed
with Type 2 diabetes already have early signs of complications. It adds,
"All types of diabetes are serious progressive conditions with potentially
Later stage symptoms include blindness, heart disease,
stroke and kidney damage.
Less than half of the general public realise that death can
result from the condition and only one quarter know that diabetes can lead to
heart disease. The condition causes a two to three-fold increased risk of
coronary heart disease in men and a four to five fold increased risk in
Campaigners have urged health professionals to focus on
early identification and ensure that people receive the most effective
treatment. "Make diabetes a priority area for strategic review and
inclusion in health improvement
programmes," it added.
Diet and lack of exercise can severely exacerbate the
"This report reveals just how urgent the situation
is," said TV cook Michael Barry, who was diagnosed late with the disease,
but avoided serious complication.