Following on the detection of potential diabetes in more than 600 visitors to the National Ploughing Championship last year, Lions Clubs plan to screen more than 10,000 people at the 2015 event in Ratheniska, County Laois.
A team of 120 Lions and qualified nurses will be at the Lions Marquee at Ratheniska from Tuesday to Thursday next. They will offer visitors a free simple, painless blood test which is designed to identify early symptoms of diabetes. The Lions are confident that they will significantly exceed the 7,210 visitors who availed of the test last year in Retheniska.
Last year 8.3% of those screened, mainly farmers, were identified as potentially diabetic and were referred to their GPs for further examination.
According to Marion Conneely, District Governor of Lions in Ireland, the incidence of diabetes is accelerating rapidly in rural Ireland due to diet and lifestyle changes.
“Medical experts estimate that up to 200,000 people with diabetes in Ireland are unaware of their condition,” says Marion. “It is estimated that there are 200,000 people with diabetes and a similar number who have diabetes but are unaware that they have the condition. The majority of these people will only be diagnosed through an acute medical event because they do not have a regular blood test. A further 250,000 people have impaired glucose tolerance or “pre-diabetes” of which 50% will develop diabetes in the next five years if lifestyle changes are not made,” she said.
Lions Clubs throughout Ireland work to raise awareness of diabetes and organise frequent screening days all over the country. They have been offering this service at the National and World Ploughing Championships for many years. Lions also liaise with the Diabetes Society of Ireland and will be distributing its information literature at the National Ploughing Championships.