Type 2 diabetes can be a 'devastating diagnosis' says expert
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Scientists found the risk of becoming overweight highest in young adults and decreases as the years pass. Researchers have also developed an online calculator so individuals can work out their chance of becoming overweight over the next one, five and 10 years in an attempt to jolt people into action. The team from University College London and Cambridge University last night demanded urgent intervention among young adults in an attempt to avert the growing crisis.
Dr Michail Katsoulis, of the UCL Institute of Health Informatics, right, said: “Our results show age is the most important socio-demographic factor for body mass change. People aged 18 to 24 have the highest risk of BMI gain compared to older people.
“Among individuals with obesity, those aged between 35 and 54 had the highest risk of not losing weight compared to other adults.”
The issue has significant ramifications for the already overstretched NHS – with obesity-driven Type 2 diabetes now one of the fastest growing health emergencies.
Four million are blighted by the condition – with that number set to rocket to 5.5 million by 2030.
One in 10 over 40 is battling the condition, which can lead to blindness, amputations, heart disease and kidney failure, with a new diagnosis every three minutes.
At least another million have the debilitating disease but are yet to be diagnosed, while 12.5 million are at increased risk because of chronically unhealthy lifestyles.
Starch is broken down into sugar by digestion but in people with Type 2 diabetes, insulin – which regulates blood sugar – fails and sufferers become resistant to its effects. Blood sugar starts to rise, damaging circulation and blood vessels, causing inflammation. Livers then become clogged with fat in overweight sufferers.
Diabetes now costs the NHS £15billion a year – more than £1million every hour.
It is diagnosed with a blood test known as a Hba1c, with the threshold being two blood sugar readings of 48 or more.
And to compound the problem, the obesity epidemic and Covid pandemic have collided – with a prolonged period where many people have been exercising less and eating more.
The health emergency comes as Professor Chris Whitty, England’s Chief Medical Officer, prepares to declare war on obesity due to it being a key risk factor with Covid.
In June last year, it was revealed that one third of all hospital deaths from coronavirus were diabetics – and Type 2 sufferers were twice as likely to die. An Office for Health Promotion has been set up to tackle the spiralling crisis and urgently promote physical activity. The Department of Health and Social Care also plans to run an incentive scheme to help people get fit and eat better.
It is searching for a private partner to oversee it with the six-month pilot scheme set to start in January. Last night officials would not say how many bids had been received and who they were from.
The campaign follows Boris Johnson’s bout of Covid, which put him in intensive care.
It was said Mr Johnson, 57, weighed 17st 7lb before he was admitted to St Thomas’ Hospital in London in April last year. If correct, it meant the 5ft 9in Prime Minister had a body mass index of 36, making him obese.
Experts said his weight was a significant factor in the severity of his illness.
Prof Whitty and his taskforce will be “systematically tackling the top preventable risk factors causing death and ill health”. He said: “Supporting our communities to live healthy lives is very important.
“The non-direct harms of Covid on public health will not be trivial.
The Office for Health Promotion will work across both national and local government as well as with the NHS, academia, the third sector, scientists, researchers and industry to develop evidence-informed policies.”
Almost one quarter of adults aged between 25 and 34 are obese, according to a 2019 NHS survey. The prevalence has doubled in 25 years. It suggests at least four million young Britons are obese and that around 80 percent of health outcomes are linked to preventable risk factors such as diet, smoking and exercise.
In the damning analysis, published in the Lancet, experts looked at anonymised GP records from more than two million adults with more than nine million measurements of body mass and weight in England between 1998 and 2016.
That data led to the conclusion that younger people were four times more likely to become overweight or obese over the next decade than 65 to 74-year-olds.
Study co-author Dr Claudia Langenberg said: “Young people go through big life changes. They may start work, go to university or leave home – the habits they form in these years may stick through adulthood. If we are serious about preventing obesity, we should develop interventions that can be targeted and relevant.”
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