Diabetes is one of the most common life-long health conditions in the UK today. If you have diabetes, your blood sugar level can rise too high, which can cause serious and permanent damage to the body.
There are 2 types of diabetes:
- Type 1 diabetes, which:
- is not preventable
- commonly develops in people aged under 40 years old
- is caused by a gland in the stomach called the pancreas which does not produce insulin, a hormone which controls blood sugar levels
- Type 2 diabetes, which:
- can be preventable through healthy eating and keeping active
- accounts for most cases of diabetes in the UK
- is caused by the pancreas not producing enough insulin or the body not reacting correctly to the insulin
If you think you might have diabetes it is important to visit your GP immediately.
If you have diabetes or are caring for someone that does, there is help available for you in Solihull.
Preventing diabetes in Solihull
Type 2 diabetes is a preventable condition for many people and if you are aged between 40 and 74 you should attend your free NHS Health Check which will check for signs of the condition.
If you think you have diabetes
It is very important that diabetes is diagnosed as early as possible. If you think you may have diabetes you must visit your GP as soon as possible.
Typical symptoms of diabetes include:
- feeling very thirsty, without a good reason
- going to the toilet to pass urine more often than usual (pee more), particularly during the night
- feeling very tired, without an obvious reason
- losing weight and muscle bulk
You can find out about your risk of developing diabetes from the Diabetes UK Risk Score tool.
Young children will develop these symptoms very quickly.
The symptoms will take longer to develop in adults.
If you, your child, or the person you care for, are experiencing any of the above symptoms you should make an appointment with your doctor immediately.
You can learn more about diabetes, the causes and symptoms and what you can do, from:
Managing your diabetes
If you are living with diabetes in Solihull there is help available from the:
- Solihull Diabetes UK Group
- East Birmingham/North Solihull Diabetes patient support group
- You can contact the group by phone on 01922 614500
Help, advice and support is also available from:
- the Community Advice Hubs in:
Diabetic Eye Screening
The Heart of England Foundation Trust operates the NHS Diabetic Eye Screening programme for the Solihull, Birmingham and Black Country area.
In Solihull, screening is available at the Solihull Hospital Diabetes Clinic, (not the Eye Clinic). You can contact the clinic by phone on 0121 424 4572 or 0121 424 3173.
Screening is also available at a number of opticians in Solihull.
You can also contact the service Monday to Friday from 8.00am to 6.00pm by:
- email to firstname.lastname@example.org
- phone on 0333 456 7887
Anyone living with type 1 or 2 diabetes could develop diabetic retinopathy, a condition which causes sight loss or blindness.
If you have diabetes, you should have your eyesight screened every year because:
- treatment for diabetic retinopathy is most effective when the condition is diagnosed early
- symptoms may not appear until the condition is causing, or close to causing, sight loss
Diabetic eye screening does not replace regular eye tests with an optician. You should continue to attend your general eyes tests with your optician.
Community Diabetes services
The Community Diabetes service in Solihull can provide you with short-term advice from specialist experts to manage your diabetes, which could include:
- group education sessions
- appointments with a dietician
To use the service you will have to be referred by your GP or other healthcare professional such as a Practice Nurse.
You can find out more information from the Solihull Community Services Community Diabetes website.
Solihull Diabetes UK Group
The Solihull Group is the national Diabetes UK support group for our local area.
The group aims to provide people living with diabetes in Solihull with help, support and advice by having group sessions to talk about the condition.
The group also works to fundraise for Diabetes UK and raise awareness of the condition.
The Solihull Diabetes Group meets every month at:
Christ Church United Reformed Church (in the Mayflower Room)
741 Warwick Road
Solihull B91 3DG
You can also take steps to reduce your risk of developing the condition, such as: