Know the signs of diabetes for World Diabetes Day
With over 16,000 people in Lewisham living with diabetes, we are encouraging local residents to 'know the signs' of diabetes to ensure they receive the treatment and support needed to help them manage the condition.
Most of us will have heard of diabetes and many will know someone with the condition. However, it's estimated that nearly one million people in the UK have diabetes and don't know it.
As part of World Diabetes Day (14 November 2018), GPs in the borough are emphasising the importance of an early diagnosis in helping to manage your health.
People with diabetes also qualify for a free NHS flu vaccination, so knowing you have the condition can be vital in protecting yourself against the virus this winter.
The main symptoms of undiagnosed diabetes include:
· Going to the toilet (passing urine) more often than usual, especially at night
· Increased thirst
· Extreme tiredness
· Unexplained weight loss, or increasing weight gain
· Genital itching or regular episodes of thrush
· Slow healing of cuts and wounds
· Blurred vision.
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, you should speak to your GP as soon as you can. It might not be anything serious, but if it is diabetes, the earlier you start to take control of your condition the better as this will help you manage your health.
Dr Faruk Majid, local GP and chair at NHS Lewisham Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) said:
"It's important to recognise the symptoms of diabetes as that will enable us to ensure more people with the condition are diagnosed and receive the treatment and support they need.
"If you do get diagnosed, you are not alone as there are also support groups and professional one-on-one support available if you're finding things difficult to cope with."
On World Diabetes Day, a number of events have been organised across the borough where people can speak to specialists and nurses to find out more about the condition and the important role families can play in prevention and early diagnosis.
There are two main types of diabetes: type 1 and type 2. About 90 per cent of people diagnosed with the condition have type 2 diabetes which is often linked to being overweight.
This means there are steps that we can take to reduce our risk of developing the condition. Making simple changes in our everyday lives – such as eating a healthier diet, being more active, quitting smoking or limiting our alcohol intake – can help us maintain a healthy weight and thereby reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
Flu can be serious for people with diabetes and can make it harder to manage the condition, as it can destabilise blood sugar levels. This can in turn increase the risk of developing more severe illnesses, such as pneumonia, or suffering a stroke or kidney disease.
Therefore, people with diabetes are eligible for the free NHS flu vaccination.
It is essential everyone with diabetes has the flu jab this winter.
People with diabetes are at greater risk from the flu, so if you have any concerns about having the vaccination then please speak to your GP or another healthcare professional.
For more information on the NHS flu vaccination and how to help you and your family to stay well this winter, visit www.nhs.uk/staywell.
For more information on World Diabetes Day, visit the World Diabetes Day website.
 Source Diabetes UK at https://www.diabetes.org.uk/about_us/news/diabetes-prevalence-statistics