Diabetic says 'get advice, face it and live normally'
WHEN Peter Green went for a routine medical 40 years ago, he never expected he would be diagnosed with diabetes.
He was told he had "a bit of a sugar problem" and was immediately referred to his GP. After several tests, it was confirmed that he was in the early stages of type 2 diabetes.
"I was surprised when the doctor told me," said Peter, of Sutton-in-Ashfield, who is now 83.
"I had no inclination and that is one of the biggest problems, because it is only when people go into hospital with other problems that they find out."
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New research by charity Diabetes UK has found that at least one person on a full double decker bus is likely to have undiagnosed type 2 diabetes.
The condition develops when the body does not produce enough insulin to maintain a normal blood glucose level, or when the body is unable to effectively use the insulin that is being produced.
Key risk factors for developing type 2 diabetes include being overweight, aged over 40 or having a relative with the condition.
People of South Asian, African-Caribbean or Middle Eastern descent are also more at risk.
The findings by Diabetes UK highlight the importance of regular health checks to enable doctors to catch the condition early.
Peter had no symptoms at the time of his diagnosis – a key reason why people may be unaware they have it.
Symptoms can be quite general and include feeling thirsty, tired, having to urinate frequently and weight loss.
Peter urged people to see their doctor if they are feeling tired, rather than putting it down to stress at work.
He added: "Do not ignore any symptoms. People may think they are fine and I don't think you should be paranoid, but I think you should take advice if it is there.
"Not everyone turns out to be diabetic, but if the problem is consistent and you have had it a long time then get it checked out."
Early diagnosis can prevent major problems that can occur if diabetes is left untreated.
Barbara Young, Chief Executive of Diabetes UK said: "People can start getting the treatment they need to prevent serious health complications, including blindness, amputation, kidney failure and stroke.
"Getting these people diagnosed is a race against time and unfortunately it is a race we are all too often losing."
Peter said he is "one of the fortunate ones" as he has been able to manage his condition through tablets and by adjusting his diet.
He added: "I don't really feel that I am diabetic. I monitor what I eat and I do tests on myself. If my blood sugar rates are high then I try to consider why that is."
He believes good management of diabetes and taking advice is the key to being able to lead a normal life.
He said: "A lot of people I have spoken to that have been recently diagnosed are frightened. It is a condition you have to live with 24 hours a day."
"Get advice, then face it and live normally. I live a normal life for an 83-year-old; I don't even worry about it."
Peter has been volunteering for 50 years and is involved in the Mansfield voluntary group for Diabetes UK.
"I think that has helped me as I am always on the go, and to be quite frank, I don't even know I've got diabetes."
For more information on diabetes, visit www.diabetess.org.uk