Boots staff help identify people with diabetes risk

STAFF at the Boots store in Rushmere Shopping Centre recently helped to identify three people at risk of Type 2 diabetes.

The leading pharmacy chain joined with Diabetes UK Northern Ireland to mark Diabetes Week and carry out diabetes risk assessments in 11 Boots stores across Northern Ireland, including the store in the Rushmere Centre, Craigavon.

The assessments were carried out by a member of the Pharmacy team who calculated a person’s risk of getting Type 2 diabetes within ten years. The risk was then categorised from low (one in 20) to increased risk (one in 10), moderate risk (one in 7) and finally high risk (one in 3). Advice was then given on what people could do to reduce their risk.

The risk assessments also aimed to identify some of the estimated 10,000 people in Northern Ireland who have the condition but don’t know it.

If someone was categorised as being of moderate or high risk, staff send a referral letter to their GP to suggest that they are tested for Type 2 diabetes. Across Northern Ireland 140 risk assessments were carried out in eleven stores and 25 people were referred to their GP. In the Rushmere Shopping Centre store ten risk assessments were carried out and three people were referred to their GP.

Iain Foster, Director of Diabetes UK Northern Ireland, said: “I would like to thank Boots and all the staff who worked so hard on this initiative. By working with Boots we are able to get into the community and reach those who unknowingly have Type 2 diabetes or those who can act now to help prevent developing the condition. It is extremely important that people are diagnosed early so they can get the treatment they need and avoid serious complications so I’m pleased the initiative has been beneficial for people in the Craigavon area.”

Marie Smith, Regional Pharmacy Manager, Boots, said: “We were delighted with the success of our recent work with Diabetes UK Northern Ireland. In helping to identify patients who are at high risk of diabetes, we can work with other healthcare professionals to ensure an early diagnosis is made and help people reduce their risk.”

General symptoms of diabetes can include increased thirst, passing urine frequently, extreme tiredness, weight loss and blurred vision. Anyone experiencing symptoms who think they may have diabetes should visit their GP as soon as they can. If diabetes is not managed effectively and the blood glucose levels do not stay as close to normal as possible it can lead to long-term complications such as heart disease, stroke, blindness, kidney failure and amputation.

Diabetes is a serious condition where the amount of glucose in your blood is too high. Insulin controls the levels of glucose in the blood. People with Type 1 diabetes do not produce any insulin. People with Type 2 diabetes may produce some insulin but not enough, or the insulin is not working properly (this is known as insulin resistance).