Early intervention in managing diabetes essential

Diabetes management

If you have been feeling increasingly thirsty, need to urinate frequently or are unusually fatigued, you may be experiencing the early symptoms of type 2 diabetes. A recent study has found that treating type 2 diabetes as early as possible helps to reduce the risks of future complications.

Scientists from Oxford and Edinburgh Universities analysed data spanning over 40 years from the UK Prospective Diabetes Study (UKPDS). The results revealed that there was a significant and lasting legacy of early intervention in managing type 2 diabetes.

Benefits of early intervention in diabetes

Treatment with insulin or sulphonylurea tablets immediately after a diabetes diagnosis led to 17% fewer heart attacks, 26% fewer complications associated with diabetes, like kidney failure and vision loss, and 10% reduction in mortality. Compared to managing type 2 diabetes through diet, early treatment with metformin led to 31% fewer heart attacks and 20% fewer deaths.

Data collected over four decades is now revealing that protective effects are long lasting. The researchers believe that effectively reducing blood sugar levels early on creates a ‘memory’ effect even if blood sugar levels rise at a later date.

“People may have type 2 diabetes for several years before being diagnosed as they may have few symptoms until their blood sugars become substantially elevated… Playing catch-up with blood glucose control is not sufficient.”

The importance of regular diabetes health checks

This week is Diabetes Awareness Week in the UK and this year the focus of the campaign is the importance of diabetes health checks in preventing serious complications arising. These include:

Blood tests

This is a regular test that checks your average blood sugar levels over the preceding months, your cholesterol levels to see how much fat is in your blood and your kidney function. A urine sample is also taken to check for signs of kidney disease.

Physical examination

Your blood pressure will be measured as well as your weight and height to assess your BMI.

Diabetic eye check

Not an annual check necessarily but an eye check involves photos taken of your eyes to see how diabetes is affecting them, as it can damage the blood vessels and cause diabetic retinopathy.

‘Knowing your numbers’ is essential. Our annual health checks include a blood test for HbA1c which checks for type 2 diabetes as well as assessing your blood pressure, cholesterol and glucose levels, and they are recommended from 45 years onwards.

For more advice on diagnosing and treating early type 2 diabetes call +44 (0)20 4580 1152 or email [email protected] to organise a consultation.