THOUSANDS of people are at risk from blindness, amputation, strokes, heart disease and kidney failure because they have failed to report symptoms to a doctor.
Diabetes UK believes there are 1,300 people in North Somerset and 3,700 people in Somerset suffer from the illness but have not had it detected.
One person is diagnosed with diabetes every three minutes and three people die from its complications every hour.
Last year, more than half of the people with type two diabetes did not even realise they could have the condition, after failing to identify the early symptoms.
A late diagnosis can lead to serious complications including strokes and amputation.
Diabetes UK South West spokesman Zoe Steer said: “We need to make sure that people are aware of the risk factors and symptoms of type two diabetes and we need to encourage them to ask for a diabetes test if they are at risk of developing the condition.”
*Urinating a lot, especially at night
*Unexplained weight loss
*Slow healing of cuts and wounds
For more information visit www.diabetes.org.uk/getserious
WESTON resident Ida Bingham was diagnosed with the illness in November 2006.
Although she is now receiving treatment for the condition, she fears it could result in complications later on.
The 40-year-old, who lives on the Bournville estate, also worries one of her three children may also develop diabetes.
The Windwhistle Circle resident said: “There are some bad consequences of having diabetes but you can delay those coming sooner.
“I would urge anyone who is worried they may have symptoms to go to the doctors.
“I know it is quite likely I will have complications later in life.
“In a way it was a relief to be diagnosed but in some ways it is almost a death sentence.”
But Ida, who is a full-time housewife and mum to her 19, 18 and 12-year-old children, says her Jehovah’s Witness beliefs make her diagnosis easier to cope with.
She added: “Because of my beliefs I know I have a hope, and it isn’t all doom and gloom.
“The future does concern me but in the mean time I just do the best I can.
“I have had to change my lifestyle to cope with diabetes – I have to make sure I have some food and sugar on me at all times.
“I am concerned my children might develop diabetes but I am keeping a close eye on things.
“Sometimes they say they are tired and mention some of the symptoms so I get my machine out and check their glucose levels.
“I know now to look for the early warning signs.
Tags: amputation, blindness, diabetes, diagnosis, heart disease, kidney failure, strokes