The crisis in diabetes (Health alert as diabetes cases double to 3.7m, 27 February) is only going to get worse. The system desperately needs a robust and uncompromising attack on the causes of type 2 diabetes and resolute support for those with type 1. We need to actively seek out the half a million Britons who have type 2 diabetes and are unaware of it. For them early diagnoses is vital. There should be regular testing, not just in GPs’ surgeries but in high street pharmacies as well.
Once diagnosed, patients should be supported every step of the way. Structured education programmes need to be improved and their reach expanded. As someone with type 2 diabetes, I have never received this education as I was only aware of their existence 12 months after diagnosis. It is never too late to enrol on a programme such as Desmond. We need to be offered lifestyle advice, not just pills. The creation of the 2016 diabetes transformation fund and similar initiatives will not achieve their objectives unless clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) are held accountable for how they spend the money. This is not happening.
FreeStyle Libre is one of the examples of innovative technology used to help those with diabetes. It is essential that innovative technologies are made accessible for all to ensure they can manage their own condition. If these problems are not addressed and solutions are not put in place immediately the diabetes tsunami will overwhelm and bankrupt the NHS. What is worse is that more people will die from diabetes complications and even more will lose their limbs to amputation.
Keith Vaz MP
Chair, APPG for Diabetes
• I fail to understand in what sense recently released diabetes data is “actually good news”. My elderly neighbour died from heart failure, after several years of kidney dialysis and ulcerated feet, all resulting from late onset type 2 diabetes. Many people struggle to control their diabetes and it is believed that many more thousands of cases are undiagnosed. Think of the costs involved for the NHS in managing millions more people developing this dreadful disease. Professor Hattersley appears to imply that as life expectancy goes up more people will develop diabetes. However, many would argue that being overweight is the main cause of type 2 diabetes, not increasing age per se, and that a much bigger factor in older people developing the disease is that over 75 % of people over 65 are now overweight or obese. It was recently reported that the millennial generation are set to become the fattest UK generation ever; the implications are alarming.
Any responsible discussion of this looming catastrophe should surely also report that it is possible to reverse type 2 diabetes with dietary means (very low carbohydrate) as thousands of people have already done. Meanwhile, we wait for an effective obesity strategy.
• Diabetes UK’s analysis, which “appears to show that the number of [diabetes] diagnoses has shot up since 1998”, correlates with the increased exposure to toxic air pollution after the 1992 EC waste oils directive, which allowed hazardous waste mixes to be burned as fuel and which was followed by a flattening of the infant mortality graph for England and Wales and a sudden rise in the percentage of low birthweight babies (ONS data). The locations with high rates of diabetes in the above article are also areas with high rates of infant mortality, which, like type 2 diabetes, is known to be caused by air pollution.
My research into the link between exposure to incinerator emissions and higher infant death rates at electoral ward level (2003-2005 ONS data) was reported in the Harrow Observer on 3 May 2007.
The former Health Protection Agency’s promised study into a link between incinerator emissions and higher infant death rates remains unpublished nearly seven years after first being reported in May 2011.
• Maybe you could signpost some diabetic-friendly recipes in your food sections as well as the lifestyle-choice vegan recipes provided.
Middlesbrough, North Yorkshire
• Join the debate – email email@example.com
• Read more Guardian letters – click here to visit gu.com/letters