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Dublin: 12 °C Friday 19 October, 2018
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Ireland faces diabetes epidemic

Thousands of Irish people are suffering from undiagnosed diabetes, according to the results of a VHI Healthcare screening project.

A blood test for diabetes is carried out
A blood test for diabetes is carried out
Image: Hugh Philpott/PA Wire/Press Association Images

UP TO 30,000 Irish people could be suffering from undiagnosed Type II diabetes.

That’s according to VHI Healthcare, who recently screened 19,000 people, as part of one of the largest checks on the nation ever carried out.

Type II diabetes is the, usually, non-insulin dependent form of the disease.

Frighteningly, the insurer says there could also be as many as 146,000 cases of undetected pre-diabetes.

VHI used their sample to determine the numbers potentially affected in Ireland’s 45-75 age group.

Most of those tested also proved to be at higher risk of heart disease as 63 per cent were either overweight or obese, 64 per cent had high cholesterol, and 25 per cent had high blood pressure.

Dr Bernadette Carr, VHI’s Medical Director, says “We are facing a diabetes epidemic in the years ahead which will have a major impact on healthcare funding and delivery unless we can take steps to tackle this immediately.”

VHI plans to conduct a further 5,000 screenings this year.

The insurer is also carrying out research to determine the effects lifestyle change can have on high-risk participants.

Information gathered as part of that research project will be fed into a larger European study.

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