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Call by north MSP for 'radical action' after 40 per cent increase in type 2 diabetes

By Gordon Calder

David Stewart MSP wants action to be taken after a 40 per cent rise in type 2 diabetes in Scotland.
David Stewart MSP wants action to be taken after a 40 per cent rise in type 2 diabetes in Scotland.

A NORTH MSP has called for "radical and immediate action" after the number of people diagnosed with type 2 diabetes increased by 40 per cent in Scotland in a decade.

David Stewart, a Highlands and Islands Labour MSP and his party's shadow public health minister, raised the issue with First Minister Nicola Sturgeon following the large rise in the condition. The figures was revealed in a study by Diabetes Scotland.

Mr Stewart said: "The First Minister will be well aware that Scotland has one of the highest rates of type 2 diabetes in Europe and it costs the NHS £1 billion a year in avoidable complications. One in 10 hospital bed days relates to diabetes.

"Does the First Minister share my view that we need radical and immediate action to reduce the long-term complications of diabetes, a condition that maims, blinds and kills?”

Ms Sturgeon said action is needed across a range of different areas, including early access to the best treatment as well as supporting people to see the condition reversed or managed without further complications.

"Prevention remains the most important focus in many respects," she said.

She pointed out that legislation will be brought forward in this parliamentary session to help make sure people are supported to eat healthily.

Afterwards, Mr Stewart said there are believed to be more than 26,000 people in Scotland who are living with the condition but have yet been diagnosed.

"It is a crisis, and one that I have seen grow over the years," he said. "There must be more action from the Scottish Government to tackle the root cause, helping people to choose a healthier lifestyle and healthier foods and to take more exercise.

"And GPs, or indeed diabetes and practice nurses, should be able to offer screening earlier to patients who are most at risk, which is normally people over 45 who have a family history of diabetes and are overweight. Otherwise lives will continue to be blighted and people will continue to suffer the consequences."

If type 2 diabetes goes untreated, the high blood sugar can affect various cells and organs in the body. Complications include kidney damage, often leading to dialysis, eye damage, which could result in blindness, or an increased risk for heart disease or stroke.

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