Belfast Telegraph

Monday 31 August 2015

The bus battling to beat diabetes

By Emily Moulton

Published 24/10/2007

A 20-metre mobile showroom on an 18,000 mile journey around the world has stopped off in Ulster with an important message.

The Changing Diabetes World Bus Tour was at the Sprucefield Shopping Centre outside Lisburn as part of its campaign to change attitudes towards the disease.

Currently there are almost 80,000 people living with the disease in Northern Ireland.

And experts have predicted that more than 350 million people worldwide will be diagnosed with the disease by 2025.

For the past year, the interactive bus has been stopping off at hundreds of cities across the globe inviting curious onlookers on board to take part in a quick test to assess their risk for developing type 2 diabetes.

Visitors can also take part in a series of quizzes, waist measurement tests and view information videos about the disease.

Northern Ireland was its last stop before heading for the UN building in New York for World Diabetes Day on November 14.

Diabetes UK Northern Ireland director Iain Foster said increasing public awareness about the disease was crucial.

"Raising public awareness of diabetes and its complications is crucial if we are to reduce the impact of the condition on people's lives," he said. "Diabetes is a serious condition which, if not managed properly, can lead to complications such as heart disease, stroke, kidney failure, nerve disease, limb amputations and blindness.

"There are nearly 80,000 people living with diabetes in Northern Ireland, of which 20,000 are undiagnosed. On average it can take between nine to 12 years to diagnose Type 2 diabetes, and up to 50% of people will have a diabetes-related complication at the point of diagnosis. In addition to the personal cost to people with diabetes, up to 10% of the NHS budget in Northern Ireland is spent on treating the condition.

Currently there is no cure for diabetes but changes in diet and increased physical activity can significantly reduce the number of people developing Type 2 diabetes.

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