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British kids disproportionately diabetic, why your patients should ditch the booze and the tough regulation faced by the cosmetic surgery industry

A roundup of the health news headlines on Wednesday 2 January

The UK has the fifth-highest rate in the world of children with type 1 diabetes, which can lead to serious health problems such as blindness and strokes, The Guardian writes this morning.

The paper quotes new figures from the International Diabetes Federation, which showed some 24.5 children in every 100,000 aged 14 and under develop the condition. Finland tops an international league table of 88 countries, compiled by Diabetes UK from the data, with a rate of 57.6 per 100,000 children in 2011. Sweden is next with a rate of 43.1, then Saudi Arabia (31.4) and Norway (27.9), and then the UK (24.5).

The UK’s rate is about twice as high as that in Spain (13) and France (12.2), 50% higher than Ireland’s (16.3) and a third more than the Netherlands (18.6), Germany and New Zealand (both 18). The league table only covers the 88 countries where the rate of incidence of type 1 diabetes is available. Many others do not record the incidence of the condition. Experts are puzzled by the findings and do not know why the rate is high in some places.

‘We do not fully understand why rates of type 1 diabetes vary so greatly and so it is a mystery why the rate is so high in the UK. One of the main theories is that lack of Vitamin D may increase risk, while people with a family history are more likely to develop it and so genetics also seems to play a role,’ said Barbara Young, chief executive of Diabetes UK.

Meanwhile for the adult population observing a white January may be advisable to cut your risk of developing cancer. The Daily Mail reports that dieters are underestimating the effect of alcohol weight loss, with few realising that a pint of lager has the same number of calories as three chocolate biscuits. The World Cancer Research Fund says forgetting the calories in booze is one of the top reasons for diet failure. Yet cutting down on drinks could help people lose weight which, in turn, could reduce their cancer risk, it says.

It said being overweight is the biggest cancer risk factor, after smoking. Drinking as little as one pint of beer every day increases a person’s risk of liver cancer and bowel cancer by about a fifth.

And if you thought you thought could cheat mother nature with some liposuction, your plans might be stumped by Government plans to crack down on the cosmetic surgery industry with strict controls. The Independent writes that cosmetic surgery companies face being banned from offering free medical consultations to prospective patients and may be required to obtain a two-stage written consent in a clampdown on the industry in the wake of the PIP breast implant scandal.

As part of a review into the cosmetic surgery industry, the Government is also considering banning companies from offering two-for-one surgical procedures and time-limited deals. Practitioners would also be expected to provide better information to patients, including photos of expected bruising and scarring, and more detail on the risks associated with surgery.

Publishing the public response to its consultation on toughening up the laws that govern cosmetic surgery, Sir Bruce Keogh, the medical director of the NHS, said it was clear that the current regulatory framework didn’t do enough to support consumer rights or patient safety.

‘It’s not always acknowledged that people undergoing cosmetic interventions are not only consumers but also patients,” he said. “They are taking decisions about medical procedures that can have a profound impact on their health. The supply and demand for procedures has outgrown the existing legislation.’

Readers' comments (1)

  • As I wrote in a blog some time ago: "...regulations should be in place to ensure that any business providing cosmetic procedures must pay into a fund to ensure that these things can be paid for when necessary. This would, of course, make the procedures more expensive, as the cost is passed on to the patient – as it must be, or they’ll be free-riding on the NHS."
    http://peterenglish.blogspot.co.uk/2012/05/pip-breast-implants-why-is-nhs-riding.html

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