DIABETES is a serious illness affecting 3.65 million people in this country.
Treating diabetes costs the NHS £1million per hour – a truly staggering amount.
The NHS budget prescription drugs for people with diabetes has risen by 41.2 per cent since 2005 and the cost of drugs to treat diabetes, £725 million per annum, is almost 10 per cent of the NHS prescribing budget.
The human cost is also high, although many complications are preventable if the illness is diagnosed and managed early enough.
Unfortunately, diabetes is sometimes discovered late.
Patients have suffered heart disease, kidney disease, amputations and blindness as a result of diabetes.
That is a very good reason for checking up on your health and making sure you are clear of diabetes.
The website http://www.diabetes.org.uk/ has very good guidelines and advice on both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes, but if you are in any doubt, you should always consult your GP.
Many people are at risk of developing Type 2 diabetes without realising it, and the website above offers an online risk assessment.
There is even an optional print -out of a letter for your GP if you have a moderate to high risk score.
For those diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes, there is a six-week programme called X-PERT Diabetes. This is provided free to patients and currently delivered by over 50 NHS organisations.
X-PERT Diabetes has the potential to halve the current prescribing budget for the NHS, thus saving £367 million a year.
And for Type 2 sufferers, the programme could halt or even reverse the disease - an audit of 20,000 patients has shown significant health and quality of life impact.
If you are affected by Type 2 diabetes, ask your GP/Practice nurse or Local Diabetes team where X-PERT Diabetes Programme is being delivered.
For more general information, go to http://www.xperthealth.org.uk/.