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One In Three Diagnosed With Diabetes

Friday, January 9th, 2009 One In Three Diagnosed With Diabetes

Diabetes is linked to heart disease, stroke, amputations, kidney failure and blindness, and about one in 10 deaths is linked to the disease. This is forecast to rise to one in eight next year.

An article by Chris Smyth of the Times(05 01 09) highlights adults with diabetes may find their mental abilities slowing down soon after the disease appears.

In a recent study, researchers at the University of Alberta found that semantic speed and higher functions such as planning, organising and paying attention to details were noticeably worse in patients with type 2 diabetes than in healthy adults.

The implications are dire as Britain’s diabetic population is growing at a very rapid rate, it has been suggested that millions of people could be in danger of progressive mental slowing.

Current evidence suggests there are 2.5 million people in Britain diagnosed with diabetes and an estimated 500,000 who do not know that they suffer from the condition.

Furthermore, experts predict that up to four million Britons could suffer from the condition, which can cause complications heart disease, stroke, blindness, kidney failure and amputation, by 2025.

Specifically, the study published in the journal Neuropsychology, found that the mental deterioration was no better in younger adults with diabetes than in an older group, suggesting that the damage is done early in the disease and remains stable thereafter.

Professor Roger Dixon, the report’s co-author, said that people with serious cases of type 2 diabetes should be screened for these cognitive effects to make sure they get the right medication and advice on diet or mental training.

“There could be some ways to compensate for these declines, at least early and with proper management,” he said.

Obesity is one of the principal causes of type 2 diabetes, and has contributed to a rapid rise in the numbers of people with the condition.

About a quarter of English adults are obese, and one official forecast suggests nine out of ten adults will be overweight or obese by 2050.

Notwithstanding, according to Douglas Smallwood, chief executive of Diabetes UK, said: “We must protect the health of the nation by taking urgent steps to further raise awareness of diabetes and its complications.

“People need to be supported to make changes to their lifestyle, such as eating healthily, losing weight if appropriate and being physically active, in order to reduce their risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.

“We also need to make sure that anyone diagnosed with the condition has access to the best possible care, information and support in order to reduce their risk of developing the serious complications of the condition.”

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