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Diabetes is everywhere in Ireland

A TOP medic has warned diabetes is "everywhere in Ireland", with one-in-three people reporting having a family member with the condition.

The research also shows one-in-five people have a family member with Type 2 diabetes, while three-in-four know someone who has the disease.

Prof Seamus Sreenan, a consultant endocrinologist and medical director of Diabetes Federation of Ireland (DFI), said: "We have been saying it for years but these figures really bring the message home -- diabetes is everywhere in Ireland.

"It's in urban and rural communities, in rich areas and less well-off areas. We're facing a national crisis."

Most people's biggest fear from the condition is developing a complicating illness, like blindness or kidney problems, according to the survey results.

However, awareness of the complications is low among the public.

Some 46pc recognise that uncontrolled diabetes can lead to blindness but only 16pc know it can cause kidney problems and just 18pc know it can lead to amputation.

In Ireland, half of all lower limb amputations carried out between 2005-2010 were linked with diabetes.

The new research was released to coincide with a new Know Your Numbers! campaign, promoting awareness of an important change to the hbA1c clinical measurement for diabetes that will come into effect on January 1 next.

Members of the public are aware of some of the risk factors for diabetes like being overweight and not getting enough exercise, according to the study.

However, another risk factor -- being aged over 45 -- is not as widely known.

comurphy@herald.ie