Rise in diabetes linked to obesity
MORE than 96,000 people in Northern Ireland have been diagnosed with diabetes - with obesity cited as the main factor for increasing rates of the disease.
New research released by a charity shows that while age, family history and ethnicity can contribute to someone's risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, the "single greatest risk factor" is being excessively overweight.
The Diabetes UK figures reveal that the number of cases in the north increased from 92,480 to 96,114 last year.
Across the UK, one in 10 people over the age of 40 is now living with a diagnosis.
Many cases could be prevented or delayed by healthy eating, being more active and by weight loss, according to the charity.
Diabetes UK is recommending that everyone uses the free Know Your Risk online tool to find out their risk of developing the disease.
Symptoms such as going to the toilet a lot, being really thirsty, feeling more tired than usual and losing weight without trying can be easy to miss especially in the early stages.
The condition can go undetected for many years, and by the time of diagnosis one in three people already have complications with their eyes, feet, kidneys or nerves.
Jillian Patchett, national director at Diabetes UK Northern Ireland, said: "The signs of Type 2 diabetes are often not obvious, that’s why spotting them early can be life-changing.
!Early diagnosis means that fewer people will experience diabetes-related complications such as sight loss, amputation, kidney failure, stroke and heart disease, because they could seek support to manage their condition effectively as soon as possible."