Type 2 Diabetes

Type 2 Diabetes

Diabetes is one of the world’s most common long term health problems. It is estimated that there are approximately 415 million people living with this condition worldwide with approximately 3.5 million diagnosed cases in the UK alone.

The treatment of diabetes and it’s associated complications costs the NHS in the region of £14 billion per year and the number of cases of Type 2 diabetes are growing at a particularly high rate.

Type 2 diabetes occurs when the pancreas, a small gland in the digestive system, doesn’t produce enough insulin to maintain normal blood sugar levels, or the body is unable to use the insulin that is produced.

There are a number of risk factors for the development of Type 2 diabetes. The main factors include, age, genetics and weight with obesity being of particular concern.

Diabetes can cause a number of symptoms, including but not limited to:

  • Urinating more often than usual, particularly at night;
  • Feeling very thirsty;
  • Feeling very tired;
  • Unexplained weight loss;
  • Itching around the genitals, or frequent episodes of thrush;
  • Cuts or wounds that heal slowly;
  • Blurred vision – caused by the lens of the eye becoming dry.

It is estimated that there may be more than half a million people in the UK living with undiagnosed diabetes. It is important for diabetes to be diagnosed early in order for treatment to be commenced so if you experience any of these symptoms you should visit your GP. Diagnosis should be relatively straightforward and the diagnosis can be confirmed by way of urine and blood tests.

When diagnosed, Type 2 diabetes can be managed through a combination of healthy diet, exercise and medication, however, without the appropriate treatment, Type 2 diabetes can cause a number of serious and ongoing health issues.

High blood sugar levels can damage blood vessels, nerves and organs and even a slightly raised blood sugar level can cause significant issues. Diabetes increases your risk of developing heart disease or suffering a stroke by up to five times.

High blood sugar levels can cause damage to blood vessels in the nerves resulting in tingling or burning pain in the fingers and toes and up through the limbs. This can also cause problems with balance and coordination.

Damage to the nerves of the foot can mean small cuts and scratches go unnoticed, which in combination with poor circulation, can lead to foot ulcers. About 1 in 10 people with diabetes get a foot ulcer, which can cause a serious infection and in the most extreme cases can result in amputation.

If the nerves in the digestive system are damaged this can cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea and constipation.

Untreated or poorly managed diabetes can also lead to a condition known as diabetic retinopathy. With this condition, the retina, the light-sensitive layer of tissue at the back of the eye, becomes damaged and if left untreated this can result in blindness. If detected early enough diabetic retinopathy can be managed with laser treatment however this will only preserve the remaining sight rather than improve it.

The better a person manages their diabetes and the more they are able to control their blood sugar levels, the less likely it is that this condition will occur.

If the small blood vessels of your kidney become blocked and leaky, your kidneys will work less efficiently. This is usually associated with high blood pressure, and treating this is a key part of management. However, in rare, severe cases, diabetes can lead to kidney disease and subsequently, kidney failure, which can mean treatment with dialysis or sometimes kidney transplantation are required.

Diabetes can also cause sexual dysfunction, with issues including but not limited to erection problems in men and loss of libido and reduced pleasure in sex in women.

If you or a family member or loved one has suffered from any complications arising from a failure or delay in diagnosis of diabetes and you would like to have a free discussion about a potential claim without any obligation, please contact Jodie O’Connor on 01752 292 360 or by email to jo’connor@wolferstans.com.

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