50% of adults living with Diabetes don’t yet have a diagnosis.

What is the aim of World Diabetes Day?

November 14th marks World Diabetes Day (WDD). 

Diabetes is a serious, and potentially lifelong, condition affecting people worldwide. 

  • By 2030, it is expected that 578 million people will be living with diabetes.
  • Half of adults living with diabetes don’t yet have a diagnosis.
  • In 2019, diabetes caused approx. 4.2 million deaths.

Diabetes is also associated with other health complications, including urinary tract infections. The prevalence of UTI in people living with diabetes is much higher than the rest of the population, at up to 26%. 1

WDD aims to raise awareness about the challenges facing people living with diabetes, to improve the care available to them.

What are the symptoms of diabetes?

Here are the most common signs of Type 2 diabetes: 2

  • Needing to pee a lot
  • Needing to get up at night to pee
  • Feeling very thirsty
  • Feeling very tired
  • Unexpected weight loss
  • Itching around your genital area, or repeated episodes of thrush
  • Cuts or wounds taking longer than normal to heal
  • Blurry vision

(The majority of people living with diabetes live with Type 2 diabetes. But for further information about Type 1 diabetes have a look here.)

100 years since the discovery of insulin!

This year celebrates the 100th anniversary of the discovery of insulin (key for the treatment of diabetes).

But what is it?

Insulin is a hormone which helps cells to absorb and use glucose, which the body needs for energy. With Type 2 diabetes, the body does not produce enough insulin, meaning that glucose is not absorbed into the cells, and there are then high levels of glucose left in the blood. This can then lead to health complications.

Therefore, to treat Type 2 diabetes, medicines are needed to help keep levels of sugar as normal as possible to prevent health problems developing.

And why is the risk of UTI/cystitis higher in people with diabetes?

  1. With diabetes, the sensory nervous system doesn’t function as well, meaning that signals to and from the bladder don’t work as well, so it is possible for the bladder to not empty fully (26% - 85% of women living with diabetes experience bladder dysfunction). If urine stays in the bladder for too long, it gives bacteria more chance to grow into an infection. 3
  2. Poor circulation from diabetes means that it’s harder for white blood cells to travel around the body and fight an infection. 4
  3. Higher glucose levels from diabetes increase the risk of cystitis, because it helps the growth of infection-causing bacteria. 1

‘Access to Diabetes Care’

‘Access to Diabetes Care’ is the current theme for World Diabetes Day. 

Despite advancements made in diabetes care, people living with diabetes still struggle to access insulin and other medications, self-monitoring equipment, education, and psychological support.

BUT

If you are living with diabetes and also experience urinary tract infections, the TestCard at-home UTI test kit makes testing for UTI easy and accessible (available at Amazon and TestCard, or at any of these pharmacies: Superdrug, Dears Pharmacy, Midway Pharmacy, Weldricks Pharmacy). 

With TestCard, you can take a urine test and get the results from the comfort of your home, and if your results are positive for UTI you can also use our treatment partner to get antibiotic treatment delivered straight to your door. 

References

1Nitzan, O., Elias, M., Chazan, B., & Saliba, W. (2015). Urinary tract infections in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus: review of prevalence, diagnosis, and management. Diabetes, metabolic syndrome and obesity: targets and therapy, 8, 129.

2https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/type-2-diabetes/symptoms/

3https://www.urologyhealth.org/healthy-living/urologyhealth-extra/magazine-archives/spring-2017/diabetes-and-its-impact-on-your-urinary-and-sexual-health

4https://www.diabetesselfmanagement.com/managing-diabetes/womens-health/diabetes-and-chronic-utis-diabetes-questions-answers/