Ireland is not dissimilar to other European countries in terms of diabetes levels.
If anything, Ireland’s unparalleled economic success over the past fifty years has contributed to more sedentary lifestyles, fuelling the level of obesity.
As a result, we are seeing a big increase in the level of type 2 diabetes.
There are 200,000 people in Ireland with diabetes, yet 50 per cent of those people are unaware of their condition.
It reflects the need to develop much greater awareness of diabetes both here and across Europe, through public education, investment in healthcare and healthcare staff working together to ensure the condition gets the attention it deserves.
Most people unfamiliar with diabetes are unaware of the huge health burden which the condition places on those affected by it.
Both type 1 and type 2 diabetes are lifelong conditions.
A careful watch on diet and exercise is critical in both cases and people with type 1 diabetes need injections for the rest of their lives.
People who are obese and lead a sedentary lifestyle are much more likely to develop type 2 diabetes than anyone else.
For Ireland, this is disturbing as a recent survey found that over 20 per cent of men living here are obese, a significant increase on recent years.
The rate of obesity among women is 16 per cent, also up on previous years.
According to the International Diabetes Federation, diabetes represents the number one cause for admission to dialysis and kidney transplant programmes and is the leading cause of blindness in people of working age. It also accounts for a risk of lower limb amputation of 10 to 12 per cent.
There must be considerable concern for the future given that obesity in children and young adults is increasing at alarming rate.
In Ireland, cases of type 2 diabetes are being diagnosed in overweight adolescents.
Limited progress has been made on measures to improve diabetes prevention and care, much of the funding – around 10 per cent of the Irish health budget – currently goes on treating diabetes complications.
These complications are preventable if diabetics have access to expert healthcare.
People with diabetes in Ireland deserve a quality health system, full information and support.
This is one of the most important ways to improve the lives of people with diabetes!
National Population Prevalence of Diabetes in Republic of Ireland
Diabetes mellitus is a group of metabolic disorders characterised by too much glucose in the blood.
The body breaks down digested food into a sugar called glucose from which it derives energy.
The hormone insulin allows the body to use that sugar by helping glucose to enter the cells.
When a person has diabetes, either the pancreas fails to produce enough insulin or the body cannot properly use the insulin it has.
As a result there is a build-up of glucose in the blood causing the cells to be starved of energy.
There are two main types of diabetes: Type 1 diabetes is characterised by a lack of insulin production and occurs most frequently in children; Type 2 diabetes is the most common form and is caused by the body’s ineffective use of insulin.
Diabetes is responsible for many early deaths, reduced quality of life and significant costs to the health and social care system and to the economy.
Age, family history,genetics, ethnicity, obesity, low physical activity levels and certain medical conditions put you at greater risk of developing diabetes.
Eating a healthy diet, maintaining a healthy weight and being physically active all decrease your risk of type 2 diabetes.
It is estimated that more than 135,000 (8.9%) adults aged 45+ years in Republic of Ireland have diabetes.
This estimate consists of more than 94,000 (6.2%) adults aged 45+ years who had clinically diagnosed diabetes and more than 41,000 (2.7%) adults aged 45+ years with undiagnosed diabetes.
More than 12,000 (0.7%) adults aged 18-44 years in Republic of Ireland have clinically diagnosed diabetes.
Diabetes is more common among older people, more than one in ten of adults aged 55+ years have diabetes.
Rates of clinically diagnosed diabetes are similar among men and women aged 18-44 years(0.7%) and among men (6.0%) and women (6.3%) aged 45+ years.
However, undiagnosed diabetes among adults aged 45+ years is more common among men (4.0%) than women (1.5%).
By 2020 the number of adults aged 45+ years with diabetes is expected to rise to more than 175,000 (9.1%).
This represents a 30% increase (an additional 40,000 adults aged 45+ years) .
By 2020 the rate of clinically diagnosed diabetes among adults aged 18-44 years is expected to marginally rise to 0.73%.
This is because the number of people in the population aged 18-44 years is expected to decrease.
These findings have significant implications for individuals and their families, the health and social care system and Ireland’s economy.
The findings suggest that large numbers of people with diabetes are not aware they have this condition , a greater focus on diabetes screening,diabetes awareness and promoting healthier lifestyles is needed to reduce future health damage in Ireland.
Further work needs to be done to develop a sound, effective diabetes strategy so that the best possible services can be provided for the growing number of people with diabetes in Ireland.
Improving Diabetes Services in Ireland
Diabetes is one of the commonest chronic diseases, affecting Irish adults.
Diabetes services in Ireland need to enable people with diabetes to achieve a quality of life and life expectancy similar to that of the general population by reducing the complications of diabetes and to deliver integrated, quality care uniformly to all affected people and their families.
For most people diagnosed with diabetes their condition is life-long and while new types of medication and medical devices are constantly being produced, the basic foundation for good diabetes care still focuses on healthy eating and physical activity, monitoring blood glucose levels and taking medication.
The management of diabetes involves behavioural change best achieved through integrated care and education.
Diabetes is a complex disease that requires diabetics to be knowledgeable and able to make daily decisions that impact their health.
The complexity of diabetes management requires health care providers to support their patients with the appropriate amount of time, education, and long-term care that are necessary for effective self-management.
In Ireland Diabetes Services need to provide at least 10 hours of diabetes education during the first year a person is diagnosed with diabetes and cover at least 2 hours per year further diabetes education every subsequent year.
Working with a diabetes educator provides an effective opportunity for the diabetic to discuss and be guided regarding meal planning, physical activity, glucose monitoring, problem-solving, and coping.
Health care practices can help their diabetes patients prepare for their visits by requesting that patients complete a diabetes assessment form about their diabetes-related behaviors and goals.
Diabetics who do not receive formal diabetes self-management education have knowledge gaps and are more likely to develop chronic complications.
Beyond providing general knowledge of diabetes care, for self-management to be effective, it is essential to tailor both the treatment and the education to the needs of the individual.
In Ireland diabetes care should be designed to help persons with diabetes achieve an optimal health status and an improved quality of life, while reducing the need for costly health care.
A National Diabetes Education Program in Ireland is needed to promote appropriate diabetes awareness and education campaigns,increase awareness and knowledge of the seriousness of diabetes, its risk factors, and effective strategies for preventing complications associated with diabetes and preventing type 2 diabetes and decrease the number of Irish with undiagnosed diabetes.
Education may take the form of individual instruction or group classes.
It might be provided in writing or through a visual medium such as DVD, multimedia computer software, or access to special Internet sites.
A key element of successful education is providing simple, clear messages, tailored to the needs of the individual, and verifying that the messages have been understood.
The information may concern the nature of the disease, diabetes self-management behaviors, and the positive and negative consequences of not adopting health recommendations.
Information about what to do if a dose of medication has been missed or if illness occurs or other problems arise or if you are traveling across many time zones.
Studies have shown that a National Diabetes Education Program have led to improved glycaemic control, reduced total cholesterol level, improved body mass index and waist circumference, reduced requirement for diabetes medication, increased consumption of fruit and vegetables, and improved knowledge of diabetes, self-empowerment, self-management skills and treatment satisfaction.
How Can We Stop The Growing Diabetes Epidemic In Ireland?
In Ireland we need to address our serious societal issues as we have an ageing population with greater numbers who have chronic diseases and disabilities related to poor diet, smoking, alcohol misuse and physical inactivity; large groups within our population with less access to healthcare, childcare, adequate housing and employment.
The rapidly emerging diabetes epidemic in Ireland has the potential to overwhelm our health care systems, undermine economic growth, and inflict unprecedented levels of disability in our society.
If you ask medical professionals how we got here, most agree that it is due to the accessibility of refined carbohydrates such as white bread and rice, high fructose corn syrup, and refined sugar. The processed, packaged and fast foods we love so much (commonly known as the ‘Western Diet’) are killing us, and many populations throughout the world as well.
For more great Health and Nutrition Tips refer to the websitePositivehealthwellness.com
Many studies have shown that type 2 diabetes can be managed and often reversed with diet.
But there are fundamental changes that need to take place.
We need to go back to the foods that our bodies were originally designed to process that is our native diet.
All we have to do is take a fundamental step backwards and realize that before the advent of the modern Western Diet,Type 2 diabetes was not a common disease.
As a diabetes epidemic looms in Ireland, we need to help people make lifestyle changes in the areas of diet and lack of physical activity.
Making positive lifestyle choices will prevent or delay the onset of Type 2 diabetes. We need to be more proactive in the area of pre-diabetes and develop programmes that help address this.
The essence of this strategy is prevention, both in the prevention of complications in our community and in preventing the development of diabetes in the general irish population.
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