Diabetes week: staying safe advice from Bay Health and Care Partners

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This Diabetes Week (June 8-14), Bay Health and Care Partners are encouraging those with diabetes to stay protected during the coronavirus outbreak.

In the UK, one in 15 of us live with diabetes. It is a condition that causes a person’s blood sugar level to become too high and if left undetected or uncontrolled can increase the risk of heart attack or stroke.

There are two main types of diabetes; type 1 is where the body’s immune system attacks and destroys the cells that produce insulin and type 2 is where the body doesn’t produce enough insulin, or the body’s cells don’t react to insulin.

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Dr Andy Knox, Director of Population Health for Bay Health and Care Partners said: “It’s important to know that people with diabetes are no more likely to catch coronavirus than anyone else, but everyone with diabetes is vulnerable to developing a severe illness if they do get COVID-19.

It's important when you have diabetes to control your blood sugar level and stay safe.It's important when you have diabetes to control your blood sugar level and stay safe.
It's important when you have diabetes to control your blood sugar level and stay safe.

“This is why it’s so important to stay alert, practice social distancing, keep on top of your medications and speak to a health professional if you have any concerns.

“The NHS is still here for you, and you can chat to your GP or diabetes team via telephone or video consultation, or face to face if this is needed.”

The advice, supported by Diabetes UK, is for patients with diabetes to stay at home as much as possible and to minimise contact with people outside their household.

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Dr Knox added: “If you do need to go out, then you should follow strict social distancing guidelines, which means keeping 2 metres apart from other people and washing your hands regularly.”

Type 2 diabetes is far more common than type 1. In the UK, around 90% of all adults with diabetes have type 2 and many people have type 2 diabetes without realising, however it is important to remember that type 2 diabetes can be reversed, if caught early enough with lifestyle changes, particularly around diet.

Type 1 diabetes usually develops in childhood or during your early 20s and the main symptoms can be remembered as the four Ts:

*Going to the toilet a lot

*Being really thirsty and not being able to quench the thirst

*Feeling more tired than usual

*Losing weight or looking thinner than usual.

Other symptoms can include genital itching or thrush, cuts and wounds take longer to heal, and blurred vision.

For further information or support, please visit https://www.diabetes.org.uk/.

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