In today’s GUARDIAN–
–writer Jon Henley interviews Barbara Young–Chief Executive of Diabetes UK, the country’s leading diabetes charity. It’s a sobering piece.
In the article Baroness Young is quoted as saying:
“Diabetes is becoming a crisis. The crisis. It’s big, it’s scary, it’s growing and it’s very, very expensive. It’s clearly an epidemic, and it could bring the health service to its knees. Something really does need to happen.”
She backs up that statement with some astonishing figures:
- The condition is now nearly four times as common as all forms of cancer combined.
- 2.8m people in the UK have been diagnosed with it.
- An estimated 850,000 more probably have type 2 diabetes but don’t yet know.
- By the year 2025, more than 5m people in this country will have diabetes.
- In north America, one in five men over 50 have the condition.
At the end of the interview there are three case histories. Here’s an edited version of 38 year old Peter Clitheroe’s inspiring story—
“I’m 6ft 2in and by the time I’d left uni in 1997 I was affectionately known as Big Pete – I weighed 23st 10lbs. I tried to lose weight, tried everything, and nothing worked. The only thing I didn’t try was sorting my head out.”
For several years Clitheroe’s weight fluctuated wildly; 18st when he got married in 2003, back up to 23st by the time his son was born four years later.
In November 2008 he went to the doctor with eye problems; a blood sugar test showed 14.7.Clitheroe joined WeightWatchers, stuck at it for a year, and wound up at 15st 2lb. “I’m in control now,” he says. He cycles 16 miles to work and back four days a week; Last year he did the Manchester 10km run, raising £700 for diabetes research.
“My blood sugar is down at 6.2, and my cholesterol has fallen from 7.8 to 3.4,” he says. “In fact, if I hadn’t already been diagnosed I wouldn’t actually have diabetes now.”
Perversely, Peter says, being diagnosed was “about the best thing that could have happened to me. It got me back on track; gave me a second chance.” [my italics]
He still loves his food: “I’d love to go to some TV chef and say: ‘Make something that really tastes good, but is genuinely low-fat.’ And how come the low-fat dishes in the supermarket are always more expensive than the others? But it’s your head you have to get sorted out.” [my italics]
Peter’s story and The 21st century’s biggest health crisis…
October 11, 2011 by Robin Ellis