The Club Doctor - Diabetes

Head: Medical Director and principal GP Dr Sarj Bahia offers advice on diabetes...

We are eating ourselves into a diabetes epidemic says medical director and principal GP at Edgbaston Private Medical Practice, Dr Sarj Bahia.

Recent research shows that the extra risk of dying for people with diabetes has fallen sharply since the mid-1990s. The study, in journal Diabetologia covering millions of Canadian and UK patients, found that in the UK the excess risk of death for people with diabetes in 1996 was 114%.  By 2009 this had fallen to 65%.

 While these are encouraging figures, this year the number of diabetics in the UK has risen to epidemic proportions – more than three million. As well as being life threatening, Diabetes can lead to cardiovascular disease, stroke and kidney disease and amputation.

Diabetes causes blood sugar to rise to dangerous levels. There are two types of diabetes: Type 1 diabetes develops when the body is unable to produce any insulin, which is needed to convert glucose. Type 2 diabetes develops when the body does not produce enough insulin to maintain a normal blood glucose level, or the body cells don’t react to insulin. 

Although effective management of Diabetes is crucial, it’s important to look at why we are in this mess in the first place.

The UK is the 'fattest' country in Europe. Two thirds of us are overweight and more than a fifth are obese. We’re all eating too many biscuits, cakes, chocolate, crisps and drinking fizzy drinks on a regular basis rather than seeing them as occasional treats.  The sugar from just one can of fizzy drink a day - up to 150 calories - increases your risk of developing type 2 diabetes. In my experience patients have no idea how much sugar they are consuming.

 Everyone can reduce their risk by being regularly physically active and maintaining a healthy weight by saying no to high fat, high sugar snacks. Being slim and active is not for vanity’s sake -  it is for your long term health.

 Main symptoms for both Type One and Type 2 Diabetes:

  • feeling very thirsty

  • urinating frequently, particularly at night

  • feeling very tired

  • weight loss

Contact me on drbahia@epmpractice.co.uk or visit www.epmpractice.co.uk

Before setting up Edgbaston Private Medical Practice in 2007, Dr Sarj Bahia spent several years gaining experience in hospital medicine including Cardiology, Diabetes, Gastroenterology and Dermatology. He has also worked as a physician on Harley Street and is a member of the Royal College of Physicians and The Royal College of General Practitioners.

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