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Nearly 24,000 in Ireland could have undiagnosed diabetes

A new study has suggested that almost 24,000 people in this country could have undiagnosed type 2 diabetes. The survey examined nearly 30,000 people over a four year period between 2009 and 2013 in order to assess diabetes and cardiovascular risk in the Irish people.

The study, which was conducted on behalf of VHI Healthcare revealed that 17% of those who took part – around 5,000 had abnormal initial fasting blood sugar levels. As well as this 10% had confirmed pre-diabetes and 1.8% had undiagnosed diabetes.

Pre-diabetes means that the person’s blood sugar level is higher than normal, although it is not high enough to be classed as type 2 diabetes. Without proper treatment it is highly likely that people with pre-diabetes will eventually develop type 2 diabetes. The study also found that men were two to three times more likely to have abnormal blood sugar levels and undiagnosed diabetes than women.

It noted that people with abnormal blood sugar levels were much more likely to be older, male, smokers, with high blood pressure and a higher body mass index (BMI), including more abdominal obesity. They were also less likely to consume fruit and vegetables and exercise five days a week.

The author of the study Dr Bernadette Carr who is the medial director of VHI Healthcare said “The results of our research suggest that the rate of undiagnosed type 2 diabetes and pre-diabetes is higher in Ireland than in similar European countries, such as Britain and Holland. These results provide valuable information for strategic healthcare planning and use of healthcare resources in Ireland.”

She said that the findings also show how important it is for people to ‘understand and manage their own health risks’.”By making some very simple lifestyle changes, people can improve their outcomes, and in the case of pre-diabetes can even delay or prevent progression to diabetes,” she added.


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