More younger people diagnosed with type 2 diabetes
Almost half of people newly diagnosed with type 2 diabetes are aged 34 or under, according to a recent survey.
The younger generation are one of the biggest groups now being diagnosed with the condition, with their most common symptoms being high blood pressure (30 per cent), increased thirst (30 per cent) and being overweight (34 per cent).
The Lloyds Pharmacy questionnaire showed 42 per cent of those people aged between 18 and 34 said they feel they could have prevented the diagnosis if they were healthier.
Worryingly, one in five (23 per cent) are already experiencing signs of nerve damage, such as regular pain and tingling.
We now have children with type 2 diabetes in the clinic and we’re facing the prospect of these younger people being outlived by their parents, which is very depressing Professor Melanie Davies
More than half of those who have the condition, do not know that type 2 diabetes can sometimes lead to other health conditions such as a stroke (56 per cent) or heart disease (53 per cent). Only 27 per cent believe that type 2 diabetes is only mildly serious, which suggests that educating people on the signs and symptoms to look out for could be important in helping others to make preventative lifestyle choices to avoid developing the condition in the future.
Professor Melanie Davies CBE, co-director of the Leicester Diabetes Centre and professor of diabetes medicine at the University of Leicester, said: “We have been highlighting this issue for the last five years. There are increasing numbers of people diagnosed at a younger age with type 2 diabetes.
“Not only are the numbers under 40 increasing, but they have a poorer prognosis, the condition is more severe and they are rapidly developing complications. We are now seeing that whilst outcomes for older people with type 2 diabetes are improving they are getting worse in the younger group. We now have children with type 2 diabetes in the clinic and we’re facing the prospect of these younger people being outlived by their parents, which is very depressing.”
It is estimated that there are currently 3.5 million people diagnosed with diabetes in the UK, and type 2 accounts for 90 per cent of these cases. It is also predicted that 1.1 million people in the UK are living with undiagnosed diabetes.
Lloyds Pharmacy pharmacist Francesca Brenca, said: “Being diagnosed with any long term condition can be overwhelming and knowing what to do and how best to manage it can be tricky. It’s our aim to support all those living with type 2 diabetes so that they can still enjoy life as they used to as well as maintaining their health. Your pharmacist can talk to you about the medication you may have been prescribed as well as offer lifestyle advice around diet and exercise to help you get started.”
Of those surveyed, more than one in four (27 per cent) wish they had understood the risks associated with type 2 diabetes before they were diagnosed so they could have acted earlier.
Some of those newly diagnosed are taking proactive steps to manage the condition. Around one in three (31 per cent) have lost weight since their diagnosis, started exercising (33 per cent), cut out sugar (33 per cent) or begun keeping a diary of their blood sugar levels, enabling them to identify triggers (25 per cent).
When it comes to making positive changes, almost a third (28 per cent) of those newly diagnosed are motivated to better manage their condition to reduce future health complications, whilst a fifth (22 per cent) find that talking to others about the condition helps to keep them on track.
Ms Brenca added: “It’s great to see so many of those newly diagnosed with type 2 diabetes are taking proactive steps to help manage their condition, and we hope this inspires others. We know that the right diet and increased exercise can actually help to reverse or significantly improve the condition.”
“I would urge those recently diagnosed to work with a healthcare professional, such as a pharmacist, to develop health goals, such as healthy diet maintenance or lowering cholesterol, and to get the support and knowledge they need to achieve this.”
“LloydsPharmacy offers free face-to-face consultations specifically for those living with type 2 diabetes. Pharmacists can provide support in achieving goals, work with you to create a management plan which involves medicines advice, and offering relevant health checks to help avoid complications.”