Diabetes: Scotland’s bellwether illness


Ryan McFadden explains why everyone is Scoltand should be concerned about the rise of diabetes

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31st March 2016 by TFN Guest 2 Comments

Everyone in Scotland should be able to live well and realise their potential. Diabetes Scotland shares with our colleagues in the voluntary sector a desire for fairness – we all want everyone to have the same opportunities no matter where they come from.

Over 276,000 people are living with diabetes in Scotland, 500,000  are at high risk of developing Type 2 diabetes and 45,500 are living with undiagnosed Type 2 diabetes. Together with their friends, families and other networks, the diabetes community is Scotland’s largest constituency.

Ryan McFadden

Ryan McFadden

It makes sense to prioritise diabetes care and the experiences of people living with diabetes

We need the engagement and support of everyone in Scotland, including our colleagues in the voluntary sector, because diabetes and diabetes outcomes strike at the very heart of what it means to live in this country. Diabetes is Scotland’s bellwether condition because it helps us understand the challenges facing our nation. Our experiences of NHS Scotland, our work life, and the attitudes of people around us, our diet and the things we do to keep active; all of these are fundamentally linked to diabetes. It is intrinsic to the very fabric of the streets we walk on, the places we work, the way we live our lives.

So why is supporting the diabetes community so fundamental to life in Scotland? Our community, people living with and at risk of diabetes, contributes so much to Scotland but ill health through diabetes can lead to missing work, loss of employment or early retirement – this costs the Scottish economy around £50 million a year. Additionally, treating diabetes costs NHS Scotland almost £1 billion annually, with the majority of this spent on treating avoidable complications.  

Supporting people to live well with the condition and working together to help prevent the rise of Type 2 diabetes, will lead to cost savings in the long term, both for NHS Scotland and our wider economy. At a time when Scotland is looking at new ways of paying for and providing services, it makes sense to prioritise diabetes care and the experiences of people living with diabetes.

Some excellent care exists for people with diabetes but it is not available everywhere. We know that there are real health inequalities in Scotland, but we also know that can combat them if we work together. All our partners in the voluntary sector understand that we are stronger together than apart. Health inequalities affect everyone.  

Figures from 2012/13 show that the prevalence of diabetes is now greater than coronary heart disease (CHD). As complications of diabetes, CHD or stroke will be continue to be major problems while diabetes is a growing health risk. With this in mind we’re calling on the Scottish Government to make diabetes a national outcome – one of the means by which the health and wellbeing of our nation is measured. This is our chance to make sure that people living with, and at risk of, diabetes experience a Scotland that truly reflects their needs, ambitions and rights.

No one government can hope to make profound lasting changes to health outcomes in a five-year election cycle. That is why we need to build support from across society and have the confidence to positively influence all aspects of people’s lives. Diabetes, as a bellwether for the health of our nation, is the perfect place to start.

 Read The Bellwether Report and join the conversation #stand4diabetes.

Ryan McFadden is policy manager at Diabetes Scotland 

31st March 2016 by omarrjo

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31st March 2016 by sarA

Diabetes is the bellwether illness in a lot of place. In June of 2015, it was discovered that I had type 2 diabetes. By the end of the month, I was given a prescription for Metformin. I stated the ADA diet and followed it completely for several weeks but was unable to get my blood sugar below 140. With no results to how for my hard work, I panicked and called my doctor. His response? Deal with it. I began to feel that something wasn’t right and do my own research. Then I found Rachel’s blog http://myhealthlives.com/i-finally-reversed-my-diabetes/ . I read it from cover to cover and I started the diet and by the next morning, my blood sugar was 100. Since then, I have a fasting reading between the mid 70s and 80s. My doctor was so surprised at the results that, the next week, he took me off the Metformin. I lost 30 pounds in the first month and lost more than 6 inches off my waist and I’m able to work out twice a day while still having lots of energy. The truth is we can get off the drugs and help myself by trying natural methods