Fighting diabetes is next big challenge

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It’s predicted to become one of the biggest strains on our national health service in the coming years.

More and more people are being diagnosed with diabetes each year - and subsequently being treated for the serious complications that arise from it.

During 2010-11, a total of 15 diabetes patients from the Falkirk district were treated for kidney failure, and a further 23 suffered strokes.

It’s part of a worrying national trend. Next week, figures will be released which are expected to reveal that 250,000 Scots now suffer from the disease.

There is no cure for diabetes but those living with it can lead healthy lives.

The number of people with type two diabetes has increased markedly over the last 50 years, in parallel with rising levels of obesity.

Jane-Claire Judson, national director of Diabetes UK Scotland, said: “Scotland is facing a significant challenge when it comes to diabetes and one that it must meet.

“Diabetes costs the NHS in Scotland £10 million a year with a large portion of this being spent on preventable complications. Many people don’t receive the health checks they need and suffer unnecessary complications as a result. Every day someone with diabetes in Scotland suffers an amputation that would be preventable if the right care, at the right time, with the right support was delivered.”

Falkirk West MSP and public health minister Michael Matheson said that the Scottish Government was committed to ensuring people with diabetes got the best possible care in order to minimise the risk of serious complications.

He added: “The Scottish Government invested £2.5 million earlier this year in insulin pump therapy for young people living with type one diabetes, and this will help ensure they can access this life-changing treatment.

“The government’s diabetes action plan also sets out a clear commitment on the prevention and early detection of diabetes and will tackle the underlying risk factors.

“The Scottish Government has also invested in health programmes such as Keep Well which is operating within Scotland’s most deprived communities. This programme has offered health checks to well over 180,000 people so far to determine their risk of developing cardiovascular disease, including diabetes, and gives them the support that they need to reduce that risk.

“In addition, we are spending over £7.5m in the next three years to encourage healthy eating, including work with the food industry to reduce salt, fat and sugar content of products and promote healthier options.”