Baroness Young tells King’s Lynn audience of ‘shocking’ statistic

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Up to 16,400 people in Norfolk could be living with undiagnosed diabetes – and missing out on vital treatment.

Baroness Barbara Young, speaking in King’s Lynn last night, said the statistic was a “real concern” because people were not receiving the early intervention which could make a difference to the condition.

According to analysis to mark the start of Diabetes Week, more than 10 people in a capacity crowd at Lynn Corn Exchange, and at least one person on a full double-decker bus, would be likely to have an undiagnosed case of Type 2 diabetes.

Baroness Young, chief executive of Diabetes UK, said: “When you consider the potentially devastating health consequences of Type 2 diabetes, it is shocking that so many have the condition and do not know it. These figures show that every time we walk down our high street, we are likely to be walking past people who have undiagnosed Type 2 diabetes.”

There are 34,583 people living with diabetes in Norfolk, and a further 16,400 unaware they have Type 2.

“This is a real concern because it is only by getting the condition diagnosed early that people can start getting the treatment they need to prevent serious health complications, including blindness, amputation, kidney failure and stroke.

“Getting these people diagnosed is a race against time and, unfortunately, it is a race we are all too often losing,” said Baroness Young, who was talking to patients, carers and charities.”

In Suffolk, there are 25,882 with diabetes and 11,900 with undiagnosed Type 2, and in Cambridgeshire there are 25,328 with diabetes and 8,400 with undiagnosed Type 2.

Diabetes UK is urging people to get assessed to find out if they are at high risk, because untreated diabetes can lead to devastating complications including amputation, blindness, kidney failure and stroke.

The charity said that many people were being diagnosed late, with about half of them already having signs of complications. With an estimated 850,000 undiagnosed cases of Type 2 diabetes in the UK, about one person in every 74 has it and does not know.

To help identify people who are at high risk, Diabetes UK and Bupa have launched a series of roadshows that will visit 50 locations over the next few months – including Great Yarmouth and Ipswich. The roadshows were launched yesterday with an attempt to set a world record in London for the number of waists measured in eight hours.

Risk factors for Type 2 diabetes include being overweight, having a large waist and being physically inactive. Older people and those from a black or South Asian background are also at higher risk, as are people with a family history.

People can find out if they may be at high risk of Type 2 diabetes by finding out their risk score at www.diabetes.org.uk/riskscore.

For more information about the roadshows visit www.diabetes.org.uk/How_we_help/ Roadshow/

donna.semmens@archant.co.uk

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