Soft Drinks Linked with Diabetes in New Research

Drinking more than two sugary or artificially sweetened soft drinks per day greatly increases the risk of diabetes, according to newly published research from Sweden.

Scientists examined sweetened drink consumption, while assessing people with an uncommon form of diabetes known as latent autoimmune diabetes in adults (LADA).

LADA has features of type 1 diabetes, where the body’s own immune cells destroy the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas.

But unlike type 1 diabetes, which normally develops in childhood, in LADA the cell destruction is much slower.

Drinking more than two sweetened drinks per day was linked with being roughly twice as likely to have diabetes.

However, the nature of the experiment means that this study cannot prove that sweetened drinks alone have directly caused these conditions.

There is nonetheless and interesting and informative correlation asserted by the Swedish researchers.

The study was carried out by researchers from the Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm and other institutions in Sweden and Finland.

Funding was provided by the Swedish Research Council, the Swedish Research Council for Health, Working Life and Welfare, AFA Insurance and the Swedish Diabetes Association.

The European Journal of Endocrinology published the work, and it is freely available online.

Researchers conclude that “high intake of sweetened beverages was associated with increased risk of LADA. The observed relationship resembled that with type 2 diabetes, suggesting common pathways possibly involving insulin resistance”.

However, high BMI and other poor lifestyle choices were also linked with the conditions discovered in the study.

The findings generally suggest that this rare form of diabetes shares characteristics with the generally better understood type 2.

Certainly the consumption of sugary drinks is something that the government has attempted to legislate against, with the introduction of a sugar tax.

However, many consider this pointless, as it fails to address the problem directly, and has also failed previously in other nations.

Meanwhile, one expert from the University of Cambridge also considers another possibility that increased drink consumption could be due to increased thirst before diabetes is diagnosed.

While the researchers attempted to take account of consumption of water and other drinks as a general marker of thirst, the design means this observation cannot be discounted.

Since 1996, the number of people diagnosed with diabetes in the UK has risen from 1.4 million to 3.5 million.

Taking into account the number of people likely to be living with undiagnosed diabetes, the number of people living with diabetes in the UK is over 4 million.

Diabetes prevalence in the UK is estimated to rise to 5 million by 2025.

Type 2 diabetes in particular has been growing at the particularly high rate and is now one of the world’s most common long-term health conditions.

 
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Cost of Diabetes Drug Prescriptions Increases by £1 Billion

The cost to the NHS of prescribing drugs for diabetes has soared to almost £1 billion annually, as the number of people diagnosed with the disease has risen sharply alongside the surge in obesity.

£956.7m was spent by NHS England on prescribed diabetes drugs last year; representing 10.6% of the cost of all prescriptions issued by NHS primary care services in 2015/16.

More is now spent on medication for type 1 and type 2 diabetes than for any other ailment.

The number of diabetics across the UK as a whole has recently risen to more than four million and has increased by 65% over the last 10 years.

Diabetes is thought to cost the NHS about £10 billion, once the cost of treatment is included.

Last year a total of 49.7m items were prescribed for diabetes, compared to 27.1m a decade years earlier.

90% of diabetics have been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, with lifestyle factors clearly playing a massive role in this epidemic.

90% of adults with type 2 diabetes aged 16-54 years are either overweight or obese.

Helen Donovan, the Royal College of Nursing’s health professional lead, stated that cuts to nursing support for diabetics meant that some patients were not getting the help they needed to manage their illness.

“These stark figures show the need for a greater focus on preventing type 2 diabetes. Encouraging healthier lifestyles would not only save the NHS money, it would improve countless lives. This is bad for the health service’s finances but more importantly it can be devastating for patients.”

NHS Digital’s findings show that the West Midlands is the region of England with the highest proportion of people over the age of 17 who are diabetic.

The south central area has the lowest prevalence rate, at 5.6%.

And the east London borough of Newham spends proportionately more of its drugs budget than anywhere else in England on diabetes medication, at 17.9%.

North Tyneside spends the lowest, at 7.4%.

Meanwhile, the spend on medication differed widely in different parts of England.

The cost per patient treated was highest in Warwickshire North, at £415 a head, and lowest in Northumberland (£239).

62% of adults were overweight or obese in England in 2012, while 6% of people aged 17 years or older had diagnosed diabetes in England in 2013.

In England, 12.4% of people aged 18 years and over with obesity have diagnosed diabetes; five times that of people with a healthy weight.

Men with a raised waist circumference are five times more likely to have been diagnosed diabetes than those without a raised waist circumference; women are over three times more likely.

Clearly tackling obesity can play a massive role in the fight against diabetes, yet results for 2014 showed that 61.7% of adults were overweight or obese (65.3% of men and 58.1% of women).

 
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International Cricketers Raise Type 2 Diabetes Awareness

England and Pakistan cricketers participating in the current international test match series between the two nations have collaborated in order to raise awareness of Type 2 diabetes.

Over 4 million people in the UK currently suffering from diabetes, with a further 12 million at increased risk of developing the Type 2 condition.

The seriousness of diabetes is often underestimated, with around 24,000 people dying prematurely due to the condition on an annual basis.

Thus, some of the most skilled and famous cricketers on the planets are collaborating with Diabetes UK in order to outline the problems that Type 2 diabetes can cause for people.

Pakistan’s left-handed batsman Shan Masood has a family history of diabetes, and reflected on the problems that those with Asian heritage face in warding off diabetes.

“When my father received his diagnosis for Type 2 diabetes it was the first step for him to take control of the condition, eat better and move more to help manage it well. Since then, I have also made changes to reduce my risk. If you are from a South Asian background then you are at greater risk of Type 2 diabetes, and it can develop from a younger age, so do check out your risk today. Taking care of your health is important for everyone, not just cricketers!”

The England all-rounder Chris Woakes believes that awareness is central to the campaign.

“It only takes a few minutes to check out your risk of Type 2 diabetes with Diabetes UK’s online test. If you haven’t already, get online and find out yours today – if you are at increased risk, then you can start to take the crucial steps needed to give yourself the best chance of a healthy life.”

While Peter Shorrick, Midlands Regional Head at Diabetes, spoke on the seriousness of diabetes for the UK population.

“Diabetes is one the biggest and fastest growing health issues of our lifetime. More than four million people currently live with the condition and a further 11.9 million are at risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. However, the good news is that when an individual knows they are at increased risk they hold the power to turn this around by making relatively simple lifestyle changes. This is why it is so important to get online now to find out your risk of Type 2 diabetes and then take any necessary steps to reduce this risk, as not doing so can lead to devastating consequences.”

Shorrick also outlined some of the ways that sport can assist with the fight against diabetes.

“Diabetes UK is thrilled to partner with Warwickshire County Cricket Club to raise awareness of the condition. Cricket is a great form of exercise which, along with eating a healthy diet and maintaining a healthy weight, can help reduce your risk of developing Type 2 diabetes or manage your condition if you already have it. While Type 1 diabetes can’t be prevented, there are several risk factors for developing Type 2 diabetes and some can be acted on, such as being overweight or having a large waist size. People from certain ethnic backgrounds are also at higher risk, with South Asian people two to four times more likely to develop the condition.”

Recent figures have indicated that there has been a diabetes epidemic across the planet, due to increasingly sedentary lifestyles and rising consumption of sugar.

The number of people suffering with diabetes has risen from 108 million in 1980 to 422 million in 2014.

 
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New Research Offers Hope to Type 1 Diabetics

New research into diabetes has offered hope for people suffering with the particularly virulent type one condition.

Scientists have discovered that many of the insulin-producing cells in type one diabetics are in fact not dead as was previously presumed.

It has been commonly believed that this is the case, but researchers associated with Exeter University Medical School have found that the cells in type one diabetics are merely dormant.

Researchers had already proved that the number of insulin producing cells in people suffering from type one diabetes can drop by as much as 90%.

Yet the research from Exeter University suggests that the situation in diabetics is not as serious as presumed, and that it may be more possible to address the serious condition than had otherwise been believed.

Around 400,000 people have been diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in Britain, and most did not develop the disease until after the age of six.

Commenting on the issue, Professor Noel Morgan of Exeter University Medical School, was positive about the potential of this discovery, characterising it as a genuine breakthrough in understanding of the illness.

“This is incredibly exciting, and could open the doors to new treatments for young people who develop diabetes. It was previously thought that teenagers with type 1 diabetes had lost around 90 per cent of their beta cells but, by looking in their pancreas, we have discovered that this is not true. In fact, those diagnosed in their teens still have many beta cells left – this suggests that the cells are dormant, but not dead. If we can find a way to reactivate these cells so that they resume insulin release, we may be able to slow or even reverse progression of this terrible disease.”

British researchers collaborating with a team of scientists from the University of Oslo, examining 400 pancreas samples from a wide variety of people suffering with type one diabetes.

Now that it has been established that the insulin producing cells in diabetics are not fully lost, and instead merely inactive, the process of attempting to reactivate these cells can now begin.

Of course, working out how to achieve this will be a massive challenge, as acknowledged by the aforementioned Morgan.

“Quite simply, and sadly, I don’t know [if this can be achieved]. However there is evidence that this can happen when the (cells) are kept outside the body for a few days, so understanding how to achieve this is not a complete pipe dream.”

Karen Addington, UK Chief Executive of type 1 diabetes charity JDRF, was equally positive about the findings.

“A child diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at the age of five faces up to 19,000 insulin injections and 50,000 finger-prick blood tests before they reach the age of 18. But this research can bring us closer to the day we find the cure.”

Since 1996, the number of people living with diabetes has more than doubled.

If nothing changes, it is estimated that over five million people in the UK will have diabetes by 2025.

 
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Type 1 Diabetes Sufferers Afforded New Hope by Research

New research into diabetes has offered hope for people suffering with the particularly virulent type one condition.

Scientists have discovered that many of the insulin-producing cells in type one diabetics are in fact not dead as was previously presumed.

It has been commonly believed that this is the case, but researchers associated with Exeter University Medical School have found that the cells in type one diabetics are merely dormant.

Researchers had already proved that the number of insulin producing cells in people suffering from type one diabetes can drop by as much as 90%.

Yet the research from Exeter University suggests that the situation in diabetics is not as serious as presumed, and that it may be more possible to address the serious condition than had otherwise been believed.

Around 400,000 people have been diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in Britain, and most did not develop the disease until after the age of six.

Commenting on the issue, Professor Noel Morgan of Exeter University Medical School, was positive about the potential of this discovery, characterising it as a genuine breakthrough in understanding of the illness.

“This is incredibly exciting, and could open the doors to new treatments for young people who develop diabetes. It was previously thought that teenagers with type 1 diabetes had lost around 90 per cent of their beta cells but, by looking in their pancreas, we have discovered that this is not true. In fact, those diagnosed in their teens still have many beta cells left – this suggests that the cells are dormant, but not dead. If we can find a way to reactivate these cells so that they resume insulin release, we may be able to slow or even reverse progression of this terrible disease.”

British researchers collaborating with a team of scientists from the University of Oslo, examining 400 pancreas samples from a wide variety of people suffering with type one diabetes.

Now that it has been established that the insulin producing cells in diabetics are not fully lost, and instead merely inactive, the process of attempting to reactivate these cells can now begin.

Of course, working out how to achieve this will be a massive challenge, as acknowledged by the aforementioned Morgan.

“Quite simply, and sadly, I don’t know [if this can be achieved]. However there is evidence that this can happen when the (cells) are kept outside the body for a few days, so understanding how to achieve this is not a complete pipe dream.”

Karen Addington, UK Chief Executive of type 1 diabetes charity JDRF, was equally positive about the findings.

“A child diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at the age of five faces up to 19,000 insulin injections and 50,000 finger-prick blood tests before they reach the age of 18. But this research can bring us closer to the day we find the cure.”

Since 1996, the number of people living with diabetes has more than doubled.

If nothing changes, it is estimated that over five million people in the UK will have diabetes by 2025.

 
[ Readmore. ]

Diabetes Sufferers not Receiving Critical NHS Checks According to Study

An audit of the NHS has indicated that fewer diabetics are receiving critical health checks.

Every diabetic is recommended to undergo eight such checks every year.

Yet the NHS is failing to deliver this number in many cases, and this is making people suffering with diabetes more vulnerable to a deterioration in their condition.

The study, conducted by the NHS’ health and social care information centre (HSCIC), found that the number of tests being carried out has fallen to its lowest level since records began six years ago.

This should be considered particularly serious considering the increased awareness of the health risks associated with diabetes, and the epidemic that is now prevalent in the United Kingdom.

Indeed, the estimated cost of diabetes to the NHS is £10 billion annually.

And with diabetics failing to receive sufficient support from the NHS, the study concludes that there are rising number of people in the UK at risk of suffering from a heart attack, stroke or limb amputation due to diabetes.

Fewer than two in five (38.7%) of type 1 diabetics underwent all of the eight tests during 2014-15 recommended by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (Nice), while fewer than three in five (58.7%) of those with type 2 did so.

Both of these figures represent a diminution from last year.

Commenting on the figures, Chris Askew, the chief executive of Diabetes UK, suggesting that they painted a worrying picture of the way that diabetes was being treated in Britain.

In particular, Askew suggested that the results for under-40s were “deeply worrying” considering the decline in condition that can result if it is not spotted at an early age.

“It is deeply worrying that such a low percentage of younger people with diabetes are receiving all eight of the vital care processes. Urgent action must be taken to ensure that younger people too are given the best chances of good health and don’t continue to be left behind.”

The study discovered that the checking of BMI had fallen to its lowest level ever, which was also the case for urine albumin tests.

This latter technique is critical in identifying potentially fatal kidney disease.

Askew believes that this failing it should be considered especially serious.

“Not getting this check means people are less likely to find out they have kidney disease until it has already developed into an extremely serious health issue. Latest figures show that nearly 11,000 people in 2012-13 had renal replacement therapy, including dialysis and kidney transplants, as a result of their diabetes. This is a life-threatening complication, which has significant cost implications for the NHS as well as exacting a devastating toll on people’s lives.”

Diabetes is the fastest growing health threat of our times and an urgent public health issue.

Since 1996, the number of people living with diabetes has more than doubled.

If present trends continue, it is estimated that over five million people in the UK will have diabetes in the foreseeable future.

 
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MIT Researchers Make Major Type 1 Diabetes Breakthrough

Researchers at MIT believe that they’ve made a major breakthrough in responding to the diabetes epidemic.

Building on work that has been carried out previously at Harvard University, scientists believe that they may have found a cure for Type 1 diabetes, or at least a potentially fertile avenue of investigation.

A team working at the institution associated with technology demonstrated that they can switch off the diabetes disease for six months in animals; a period that would equate to several years in humans.

Back in 2014, researchers at Harvard University discovered how to make huge quantities of insulin-producing cells, in a breakthrough hailed as similarly significant as the discovery of antibiotics.

Now the MIT scientists have proven that implanting cells into mice has the potential to completely restore insulin functions.

Julia Greenstein of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation or JDRF, the type 1 diabetes research charity, stated that “these treatments aim to effectively establish long-term insulin independence and eliminate the daily burden of managing the disease for months, possibly years, at a time.”

Although it is very early days in the research of this new technique, ultimately the development of it could result in the end of daily insulin injections for the 400,000 people in Britain who have to cope with Type 1 diabetes.

It is believed that human trials maybe just a few years away.

Dr Daniel Anderson, professor of applied biology at MIT, was effusive about the discovery.

“We are excited by these results, and are working hard to advance this technology to the clinic. These results lay the groundwork for future human studies using these formulations with the goal of achieving long-term replacement therapy for Type 1 diabetes. We believe (the cells) have the potential to provide insulin independence for patients suffering from this disease.”

Anderson also outlined the full potential of this technique, particularly providing details on one especially exciting aspect of the research.

“It has the potential to provide diabetics with a new pancreas that is protected from the immune system, which would allow them to control their blood sugar without taking drugs. That’s the dream.”

Although only 10% of diabetes is Type 1, it is particularly common among children, and is the most debilitating form of the condition.

While effective treatment of diabetes can ensure a long life and a relatively unencumbered standard of living for sufferers, it had previously been impossible to reverse the condition.

If it were possible to provide sufferers in the UK with the ability to be insulin independent, this would be a massive step forward for treatment of diabetes.

There are about 35,000 children and young people with diabetes, under the age of 19, in the UK, and about 96% of these have Type 1.

 
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Report Points Finger at NHS for Poor Resonse to Diabetes Epidemic

A major committee of MPs has suggested that the Department of Health and NHS England have collectively been too slow in addressing diabetes.

The Public Accounts Committee report suggests that variations in the care of both type 1 and 2 diabetes mean the annual cost to the health service will continue to rise.

This must be considered an extremely significant prediction, as the existing bill related to diabetes is already in excess of £5.5 billion annually.

While a spokesman on behalf of NHS England indicated that diabetes care had improved and reached an apex over the last few years, he also acknowledged problems with the issue in the existing NHS system.

The massive increase in type two diabetes in particular, which is considered to have been fuelled by an obesity academic, has the potential to completely overwhelm GP services, even by the admission of NHS England.

“[This] puts the spotlight firmly on the need for no-holds-barred national action on prevention by the NHS, government, employers, schools, and in particular the food industry,” the spokesman added.

With the number of adults in England with diabetes already in excess of 3 million, the Public Accounts Committee suggests that the figure will continue to increase by the 5% annual rate that is the case currently.

Most of the £5.5bn-a-year cost is spent on complications from diabetes, such as heart and kidney disease, blindness and nerve damage, leading to amputations.

Yet despite the fact that these major problems can be guarded against simply by identifying diabetes at an early stage, problems in the NHS are preventing this relatively simple solution.

Managing blood glucose, blood pressure and cholesterol can also have an extremely beneficial impact on diabetes, yet the committee believes that there are currently “unacceptable variations” in education, care and treatment of patients.

And it is also clear that more needs to be done to encourage people to take up the annual health checks that are available on the National Health Service.

Currently only 60% of British citizens who are eligible for these checks have them carried out on a regular basis.

The report states that all of the figures that the Public Accounts Committee have collated indicate that diabetes is becoming a bigger problem on an almost yearly basis.

“The percentage of beds in acute hospitals in England occupied by people with diabetes continues to rise, from 14.8% in 2010 to 15.7% in 2013. However, the level of diabetic specialists has not significantly changed over this period. In 2013, nearly one-third of hospitals in England taking part in the audit had no diabetes inpatient specialist nurse and 6% did not have any consultant time for diabetes inpatient care. NHS England told us that an increase in nursing numbers isn’t likely in the next year or two.”

A Department of Health spokesman suggested that “big improvements in diabetes care” had been made, but conceded that “any variation in care, as this report highlights, is deeply concerning. That’s why we are creating a national diabetes prevention programme, the first of its kind in the world, so that we help people avoid developing this devastating condition in the first place.”

 
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Charity Study Examines Impact of Hunger and Malnutrition on Diabetes and Health

A record conducted by Christian charity Bread for the World suggests that hunger and malnutrition is having a massively negative economic impact in the United States.

These two debilitating conditions reportedly cost the United States in the region of $160 billion per annum.

This figure can be attributed to the treatment of chronic health conditions.

The report outlines the dire consequences of food insecurity among the poorest American families, and paints a picture of a society in serious decline.

This latest report is suggested to be the first to ever apportion a significant share of the long-term cost of illnesses such as diabetes to a deficit of affordable, nutritious food.

It should be emphasised that access to such foodstuffs in the United States is clearly an economic issue, as the United States actually produces a surplus of food annually.

In 2010, exports of agricultural products in the United States were worth some $116 billion.

The diabetes epidemic in the US has already claimed millions of sufferers, and shows few signs of abating.

In 2012, 29.1 million Americans, or 9.3 per cent of the United States population, had diabetes.

Diabetes remained the seventh leading cause of death in the United States in 2010, mirroring a general trend in the Western world for this blood sugar condition to be expanding rapidly in the population.

Government statistics suggest that between 2008 and 2014 at least 48.1 million people a year in the United States were classed as “food insecure”. This means that they could not always afford to eat balanced meals, including 19.2 per cent of all households with children.

In addition, many American households are reliant on food stamps, with around 50 million people in the US, approximately 20 per cent of the population, currently in receipt of this federal government programme.

Anecdotal and survey-based evidence suggests that people in receipt of this form of government support tend to have a less nutritious diet than average.

There is thus a massive link between economic demographics and poor nutrition.

The study found that food insecurity increases by nearly 50 per cent the chances of becoming a “high cost user of healthcare services” within five years.

Meanwhile, the cost of healthcare in the United States is increasing rapidly, already accounting for almost one-quarter of all federal government spending.

It is suggested that increasing the amount of money spent on food assistance would turn out to be cost-effective, considering that this currently represents just three per cent of overall expenditure.

However, it must be said that there are huge vested interests that simply do not wish for this situation to change.

Commenting on the issue, Rev David Beckmann, president of Bread for the World, outlined the dire situation that many families and individuals face in the United States.

“Nowhere are the hidden costs of hunger and food insecurity greater than in health care. Access to nutritious food is essential to healthy growth and development, and can prevent the need for costly medical care. Many chronic diseases – the main causes of poor health as well as the main drivers of healthcare costs – are related to diet.”

 
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Men More Likely to Die from Diabetes According to Research

New research indicates that men are significantly more likely to die from diabetes than women.

The study in question indicated that male pride will tend to stop them from making the lifestyle changes required to combat the debilitating condition.

Research published in the journal Diabetologia by Dr Marlene Krag, of the University of Copenhagen, discovered that men were considerably less likely to sign up for personally tailored care.

Data collected by the Danish researchers indicated that women who were provided structured personal care where around 30 per cent less likely to die of any diabetes-related cause.

“Structured personal diabetes care could provide women with significant attention and support and thus provide an incentive to treatment adherence,” the authors of the report observed.

The report went on to observe that masculinity can be a major problem in the treatment of diabetes.

“Women accept disease and implement disease management more easily, which might affect long-term outcomes. Masculinity may be challenged by diabetes, demanding daily consideration and lifestyle changes. The structures approach could conflict with men’s tendency to trust self-directed learning instead of self-management.”

In attempting to address the problem, the authors suggested that further study was required, and that the results could be explained by a complex matrix of social and cultural issues.

“We propose that the improved outcomes in woman may be explained by complex social and cultural issues of gender. There is a need to further explore the gender-specific effects of major intervention trials in order to rethink the way we provide medical care to both men and women, so that both sexes benefit from intensified treatment efforts.”

Researchers from the University of Copenhagen assessed the impact of a trial that was held in Denmark between 1989 and 1995.

During this period, tailored treatments were offered to both male and female patients, while a control group was also tested in order to provide accurate results.

Authors then followed the same participants through until 2008.

The results of this study will be considered particularly important owing to the diabetes epidemic which is now spreading worldwide.

It was reported that just this week that almost half of 45-year-olds will develop so-called prediabetes, an elevated blood sugar level that often precedes diabetes, according to a large study from The Netherlands using population estimates.

And the number of people suffering with type two diabetes in the United Kingdom has increased exponentially in recent years.

Considering the scale of the problem, it should be considered essential for adults to seek assistance when they are diagnosed with prediabetes, along with health professionals to understand the scope of the issue.

 
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British Heart Foundation Figures Indicate UK Diabetes Epidemic

Figures released by the British Heart Foundation suggest that the number of UK adults living with diabetes has risen by more than 65 per cent in the last decade alone.

The organisation analysed GP data, and found that 3.5 million people were diagnosed with diabetes between 2014 and 2015.

By comparison, around 2 million people had been diagnosed with the condition back in 2004 and 2005.

It is estimated from the figures that people living with Type 2 diabetes, associated with unhealthy lifestyles and obesity, could be in excess of 3 million.

These latest figures are indicative of the diabetes academic that has been sweeping the Western world.

Although there are numerous factors contributing to this issue, not least sedentary lifestyles, the vast amount of sugar being consumed is considered to be a major contributor.

Processed food often contains large amounts of added sugar, with many people consuming quantities of which they are simply not aware.

Commenting on the research carried out by the British Heart Foundation, Doctor Richard Cubbon said: “We are currently unable to reverse blood vessel damage caused by diabetes. We’re studying a protein which could be involved in blood vessel repair, which could lead to new drugs that help prevent the deadly heart attacks and strokes associated with diabetes.”

The figures are a worrying precedent of the extent of the diabetes problem in the UK.

Ten years ago, it was considered extremely serious that in the region of 2 million people in Britain had been diagnosed with the condition.

At that time, a World Health Organisation report indicated that deaths due to diabetes in Britain could be expected to increase 25 per cent in the next decade.

In reality, this has turned out to be a gross under estimation, which suggests that the scale of the problem may accelerate still further in the future.

Confirming this trend, Chris Askew, chief executive of Diabetes UK, said: “The number of people with diabetes is rising at an alarming rate and every year there are more than 20,000 people who die tragically young as a result of the condition. Given the scale and the seriousness of the condition, it is vital that there is more research into better treatment and, ultimately, into finding a cure.”

Askew also mused on the scale of the problem.

“Diabetes remains one of the biggest health challenges of our time. We must protect the health of the nation by taking urgent steps to get to grips with it or we will continue to see more and more people dying before their time.”

 
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Healthy New Towns Takes Novel Approach to Health Corrosive Urban Areas

That British Medical Association has supported a new NHS programme intended at improving nutrition across the nation.

The so-called Healthy New Towns programme aims to put health at the heart of new neighbourhoods and towns across the country.

According to research, the UK loses 140 million working days due to ill-health every single year, and a significant proportion of this can be attempted to poor diet and other preventable causes.

Symptomatic of the decline in general health is the diabetes epidemic in the UK. The cost of this condition to the NHS is already £10 billion annually, and projections suggest that this will significantly increase in the coming years.

With this in mind, Healthy New Towns is intended to deliver a real health and financial impact, while delivering on key aims set out in the Five Year Forward View.

As part of the programme, five long-term partnerships will initially be selected from across the country, covering housing developments of different sizes, from smaller projects up to those over 10,000 units.

Each of these selected sites will then benefit from a programme of support, which will focus on global expertise in spatial and urban design, national sponsorship and increased local flexibility.

Their intention is to build new and cohesive communities that support physical and mental well-being.

The nature of the existing urban landscape is such that obesity, diabetes and other forms of intrinsic ill-health almost inherently flourish.

Some sources have described these heavily built up environment as obesogenic.

It is hoped that the Healthy New Towns programming can help create a healthier urban culture in which exercise is part of the everyday experience in particular.

Additionally, the technological revolution means that it is increasingly possible for people to access sophisticated medical information, and even treatment, within their own homes.

So a central pillar of the Healthy New Towns program is to help provide community health and social care services by designing and investing in the use of new digital technologies.

Independence within and outside of the home is considered to be an important principle of this initiative.

The British Medical Association has already indicated its support for, and enthusiasm about, this new programme.

Professor Sir Al Aynsley-Green, the former Children’s Commissioner, Office offered backing for the scheme at the Care Innovation Expo in Manchester.

Aynlsey-Green particularly emphasised the potential of the scheme to make a positive difference in young people’s lives.

“This is a fantastic initiative. I have been to some dismal modern estates with nothing for young people to do and I would urge that we build developments with children’s health at their hearts,” Aynlsey-Green stated.

NHS England, with support from Public Health England, has invited leading local authorities, housing associations and the construction sector to identify development projects where they would like NHS support in creating health-promoting new towns and neighbourhoods in England.

 
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