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Football fans to be screened for type 2 diabetes at Premier League match

Football fans to be screened for type 2 diabetes at Premier League match

DRWF to support healthcare professionals who will be providing finger prick blood tests in Southampton.

Published: Feb 08, 2019
Category: Looking after yourself

In just five minutes football fans could find out if they have type 2 diabetes before going on to cheer on their favourite team.

Diabetes clinicians will be attending tomorrow’s (9th February) match when Southampton host Cardiff City at St Mary’s Stadium.

Dr Mike Sadler, a clinical non-executive director at University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust, and his team will be able to identify a person’s risk of type 2 diabetes within five minutes.

Screening, which will be carried out by clinicians led by Dr Mayank Patel, a consultant in diabetes at University Hospital Southampton and member of the DRWF Editorial Advisory Board, and nurses from Solent NHS Trust.

The screening pilot is being funded by Southampton Hospital Charity and supported by Saints Foundation and the Diabetes Research and Wellness Foundation.

Dr Sadler, who had the idea to pilot type 2 diabetes screening at the football game, said: “As far as we're aware this is the first time screening has been carried out at a football match and it is a chance for people to help their health at the same time as supporting their football team.

“If the pilot is successful, we are hopeful this will lay the foundation for potential screening clinics at football grounds across the country to help tackle what is a significant and growing problem.”

He added: "This would not have been possible without the support of the diabetes team at UHS, Southampton Hospital Charity, Saints Foundation and the Diabetes Research & Wellness Foundation – a fantastic team effort."

Supporters of all ages and genders from both teams will be offered the opportunity to give a finger prick blood sample to measure HbA1c levels - a marker of the amount of sugar (glucose) in their blood over the last two to three months.

The test can determine whether or not a person is at risk of developing type 2 diabetes or if they may already have the condition and not be diagnosed.

If needed, they will be given a letter to give to their GP along with advice on the next steps.

More than 90% of the 3.5 million people in the UK diagnosed with diabetes have type 2, which is associated with an inactive lifestyle, being overweight and a poor diet.

It is estimated an additional 1 million people with type 2 diabetes are undiagnosed, with a further 12.3 million at increased risk of developing the condition. Middle-aged males in particular are a group at higher risk and who also believed to be less likely to visit their GP for testing.

The condition increases the risk of heart and kidney failure and can lead to stroke, blindness and nerve damage.

Dr Patel said: “It is possible to live undiagnosed with type 2 diabetes for months as it does not always cause symptoms but it can cause internal damage, so the earlier it is diagnosed the sooner treatment can begin.

“We know that many people may be at risk of developing the condition and a large number do not attend testing when called for by their GP, so this is an innovative approach at trying to tackle some of those who may be at increased risk.”

Sarah Tutton, DRWF Chief Executive, said: “We are really pleased to be supporting this collaborative approach to reaching people who may already have, or be at increased risk of, type 2 diabetes. Early diagnosis and treatment of type 2 diabetes can significantly reduce the risk of associated complications, so we see this as an important effort to support the improved health of our local communities.”

Testing will take place in a marquee next to the Gasworks Lounge outside the Kingsland Stand at St Mary’s from 12pm on Saturday, 9th February.
Find out more about type 2 diabetes
Category: Looking after yourself