Cardiff Met Raises Awareness of Diabetes

​08/11/2017

Whitchurch High School pupil Lia Baldwin with Jane Lewis (Cardiff School of Sport & Health Sciences).

​The University is hosting a "Knowing Your Risk for Diabetes" seminar event on World Diabetes Day (Tuesday Nov 14th), to help raise awareness of this lifelong condition.

Diabetes is a serious life-long health condition that occurs when the amount of glucose (sugar) in the blood is too high, either because it cannot produce the hormone insulin, or because the insulin it does produce does not work properly. There are two main types: Type 1 diabetes and Type 2 diabetes. Nobody knows what causes Type 1 diabetes, but your likelihood of developing Type 2 diabetes can be affected by your age, gender, ethnicity or weight. It is a well-known condition, however the complications and risks surrounding it are not as familiar.

Wales has the highest prevalence of diabetes in the UK, with over seven per cent of the population having the condition. Diabetes UK Cymru also estimates that close to 60,000 individuals in Wales have Type 2 diabetes but have not yet been diagnosed and if left untreated, Type 2 diabetes can lead to devastating complications such as amputation, blindness, heart attack and stroke. It is said that around three in five cases of Type 2 diabetes can be prevented by eating well, exercising and maintaining a healthy weight.

This Diabetes awareness event, which is hosted by the Cardiff Met Student Science Society, and supported by the Cardiff School of Sport and Health Sciences (CSHS), and Diabetes UK Cymru, will explore the risk factors and issues surrounding diabetes. Individuals attending the event will have the opportunity to learn more about both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes through interactive stands, which will also cover the complications associated with both and the prevention of Type 2 diabetes.

CEO for Cwm Taf UHB and chair of All Wales Diabetes Implementation Group, Allison Williams, will be opening the event and explaining in more detail the implementation of the Diabetes Delivery Plan by the Welsh Government.

Other guest speakers for the event include Cardiff Met staff (Biomedical Sciences Lecturer Richard Webb; Health Psychology Lecturer, Katie Thirlaway); National Director of Diabetes UK Cymru, Dai Williams; Diabetes UK Clinical Champion and National Diabetic Foot Co-ordinator for Wales, Scott Cawley, and Community Dietitians, Sian Sullivan and Gemma Jones.

Speaking about the event, Dai Williams, National Director of Diabetes UK Cymru, said: "Diabetes is the most devastating and fastest-growing health crisis of our time. Treating the condition and its complications currently accounts for 10% of NHS Wales' entire budget: around half a billion pounds per year.

"7.1% of the population in Wales aged 17 and over has the condition: the highest prevalence in the UK. This is some 188,000 people. We estimate that a further 540,000 may be at risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. This means we are all likely to know someone affected by the condition.

"World Diabetes Day is an opportunity for us to come together to shine a spotlight on this growing crisis, and discuss what steps we can all take to reduce diabetes' impact and support people living with the condition in Wales. We are looking forward to what we are sure will be an engaging and informative event."

Dr Jane Lewis, Lecturer/Researcher and part of the organising team at Cardiff Met, said: "We are very much looking forward to the World Diabetes Day event and making our contribution to raising the public's awareness. Diabetes is a lifelong condition that most people have probably heard about, however they possibly don't know the difference between Type 1 and Type 2, and that Type 2 can be prevented through lifestyle changes. Events like this are important to help educate individuals and also support those who already have the condition."

Cardiff Met MSc Biomedical Science student and Student Science Society member Beirag Nazar, is one of the event organisers, and said: "Diabetes is becoming an increasing health threat in Wales, and as an educational institution it is part of our duty to connect individuals with health scientists, clinicians and politicians to share knowledge and experiences. Hosting this event will enable us to evaluate and improve our current tool kit to fight against diabetes and make improvements for better care and prevention measurements in Wales."

Ahead of the event, Diabetes UK Cymru and Cardiff Met are visiting schools across Cardiff to raise awareness of the condition with pupils and discuss healthy lifestyles, diabetes prevention and supporting peers who have the condition.

The Diabetes awareness event is a public event and will be held at the Atrium, Cardiff School of Management building, Llandaff Campus, on 14th November. The event will start at 5pm.  

For more information, including booking enquiries, please contact jealewis@cardiffmet.ac.uk