If you have one, or a number of the conditions below, you are at a higher risk of developing Type 2 diabetes:

• Being from a South Asian background
• Have a body mass index (BMI) of over 30
• Have a close relative with condition
• Are over 40-years-old
• Have high cholesterol or blood pressure
• Your waist is over 37 inches (for men),  or 31.5 inches (for women)

Concerned pharmacist approaches Asian Express to discuss concerns surrounding diabetes and the South Asian community

With more than 2.5million people already diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes in the UK, a Bradford pharmacist has been speaking out about the need to find the other ‘missing million’.

AWARENESS: Moahmmed Sharaz, who runs a pharmacist in East Bowling, Bradford, wants to see more people come forward and take advantage of free diabetes tests
AWARENESS: Moahmmed Sharaz, who runs a pharmacist in East Bowling, Bradford, wants to see more people come forward and take advantage of free diabetes tests

Mohammed Sharaz, who runs Lloyds Pharmacy on Coventry Street, East Bowling, is just one professional who has seen a rise in the number of people being diagnosed with the condition, especially from South Asian backgrounds.

People from India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and neighbouring countries are statistically six times more likely to suffer from the condition than their European counterparts and Mr Sharaz believes it is a statistic which cannot be ignored.

“With so many people already diagnosed with the condition, the word is definitely beginning to spread, yet there are still so many undiagnosed cases out there,” he explained.

“People are beginning to come forward more often but there is still that fear factor of ‘what if I’m diagnosed?’ and then people instantly assume they will need to start self-injecting.

“This isn’t the case and we need to get rid of that idea. If you are diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes, firstly we can try and control it through a diet, then if that doesn’t work, through tablets, and only as a last resort do we recommend injecting insulin.”

Type 2 diabetes is a long term health condition characterised by high levels of glucose in the blood, meaning there is too much sugar in the bloodstream and the body can’t get rid of it. Common symptoms include tiredness, increased frequency to urinate, blurred vision and dried eyes.

If undiagnosed, sufferers can develop serious problems, from heart and kidney disease to blindness.

A diet with high amounts of sugar, fatty food and carbohydrates, significantly increases the chances of somebody having the disease, whilst other likely risk factors include, having a high blood pressure and cholesterol, being over 40-years-old and having relatives with the condition.

As the condition continues to affect more people across the UK, Lloyds Pharmacy’s, such as the one Mr Sharaz runs, have begun to offer free Type 2 diabetes checks for everybody.

“By doing the tests for free, we hope to make more people aware about the condition,” Mr Sharaz said.

“We take a small blood test from your finger and check all the symptoms – it only takes between two and five minutes and you will get an immediate answer.

“Some people come in and go away really happy because they don’t have the condition despite having most of the symptoms whilst others are glad to be diagnosed early so there is a better chance to fight it.

“We are trying to find the missing million and hopefully by raising the awareness, we can do just that.”