Diabetes-the major challenge
By Niall Hunter-Editor
There are more than 200,000 people with diabetes
in Ireland, and half of those are unaware of the long-term harm this disease
can cause, according to the Diabetes Federation of Ireland.
The Federation says a further 20,000 people
in Ireland will develop type 2 (non-insulin dependent) diabetes in the
next three years and this could be halved by simple lifestyle measures.
It says research has shown that type 2 diabetes can be
prevented or delayed by attention to dietary intake and regular physical
In recognition of this, the Diabetes Federation
is hosting the National Diabetes Health Awareness Exhibition at the Burlington
Hotel, Dublin on Sunday, November 6 from 12pm to 5 pm.
The exhibition is free of charge and will
offer members of the public information and education about diabetes and
about moving to a healthier lifestyle, whether or not they are affected
The exhibition will also offer free health
checks, including diabetic retinopathy and glaucoma screening, haemoglobin,
cholesterol testing, blood pressure, body mass index and weight checks
plus carbon monoxide testing for smoking cessation.
Diabetes Federation Chairman Dr Tony O'Sulllivan
said the importance of the exhibition can be seen from the fact that at
last year's exhibition, 8% of attendees screened were referred on for further
In addition, 9% of attendees tested for glaucoma
and 40% of attendees tested for high cholesterol were referred for further
Dr O'Sullivan said the exhibition provides
a great opportunity for people with diabetes and those at risk from the
condition to obtain a free comprehensive health check and gain positive
information on improving self-care.
Symptoms of diabetes include lack of energy,
tiredeness, excessive thirst, frequent passing of urine and weight loss
Risk factors for diabetes include being overweight
having a family history of diabetes, age over 45, lack of regular exercise,
unhealthy diet or having had diabetes during pregnancy.
According to Dr O'Sullivan, for the wider
public, knowing and recognising the symptoms and factors which put people
more at risk of diabetes is just one step that can be taken.
"I would encourage as many people as
possible to attend the exhibition and avail of the opportunity to learn
diabetes and perhaps enhance your quality of life."
There are around 225 million people worldwide
with diabetes at present compared to 194 million two years ago.
The total is expected to reach 275 million