Support available for diabetic patients

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The 13,000 people diagnosed with diabetes in the Western Trust region are being urged to seek support from community support groups.

The Trust used the occasion of Diabetes Awareness Day to state that the rate of diabetes has increased by 33% in five years.

A wide range of community support programmes are now available for diabetics living locally.

If not treated, diabetes can cause serious health complications.

Symptoms can include feeling very thirsty, going to the toilet frequently, particularly at night, feeling very tired, weight loss and loss of muscle bulk.

In the Western Trust region there are 13,000 people (approximately 2,000 in the Omagh, 3,000 in Fermanagh area and 8,000 in Derry/Limavady and Strabane District Council areas) who are receiving treatment, but many also remain undiagnosed.

Dr Neil Black, lead clinician for the Western Area Integrated Diabetes Service, said: “Diabetes is one of the biggest challenges facing health and social care today. Diabetes can cause blindness and is a major cause of lower limb amputation, kidney failure and stroke.

“It is important those with the condition are diagnosed and treated as early as possible so they can continue to be monitored. It is a lifelong condition which causes a person’s blood sugar level to become too high.

“It is important we do all we can to encourage and support people who want to make changes especially in their diet and weight.”

Non-smokers and those who keep their weight down are less likely to develop diabetes.

For those with Type 1 Diabetes, the CHOICE Programme is offered, it takes place over four sessions, one day per week.

It is aimed at providing education on how to adjust insulin doses for different foods and different activities.

Those suffering with Type 2 Diabetes are offered the DESMOND education programme.

If you would like to attend any of the information sessions please contact the Diabetes Network Office at Altnagelvin Hospital on (028 71345171 ext 213464/213463)