NICE gives green light to treatment for type 2 diabetes
The number of people who are diabetic has increased by more than 150,000 in the past year. Now 2.8 million (1 in 20) people in the UK are living with the condition, according to the charity Diabetes UK.
Diabetes occurs when there is too much glucose (sugar) in the blood. Type 1 is caused because the body is unable to produce any insulin and often starts in childhood or young adulthood. It is treated with diet control and insulin injections.
Type 2, the more common disease, affects around 2.5 million people in the UK, and is associated with being overweight, inactive and eating an unhealthy diet. It occurs when not enough insulin is produced by the body or the insulin that is made doesn't work properly.
Type 2 diabetes usually affects people over the age of 40 and, in many cases, can be prevented by maintaining a healthy weight, exercising regularly and eating a balanced diet rich in fruit and vegetables and low in fat, sugar and salt.
However, with over 5.5 million (1 in 10) people in the UK now registered as obese - an increase of more than 265,000 in the past year, the number of people with diabetes looks set to rise dramatically.
"Diabetes is serious. If not diagnosed early or poorly managed, it can result in blindness and amputation, or a shortened life expectancy from heart disease, stroke and kidney failure,” explains Simon O'Neill, Diabetes UK Director of Care, Information and Advocacy.
"Many, but not all, people develop type 2 diabetes because they are overweight or obese, so we must keep up the mantra of ‘five fruit and veg a day', encourage daily physical activity, and warn of the potentially devastating consequences of an unhealthy lifestyle.”
In addition, new NICE guidance published in October recommends a treatment called liraglutide (Victoza, Novo Nordisk) for some of those affected. A dose of 1.2 mg daily works by stimulating the release of insulin and, just as important, it reduces people's appetite, so they eat less.
NICE has previously published recommendations for doctors and midwives on how to ensure women with diabetes can stay healthy as they prepare to conceive and during pregnancy.
The guidance, published in 2008, advises that these women should be given access to specialist services prior to conception. It also highlights the importance of providing them with information on how to control their blood sugar levels during pregnancy.
29 November 2010