Clinicians will screen cricket fans for diabetes for the first time in the UK today (Friday) when Hampshire host Somerset in the Vitality Blast at The Ageas Bowl.
The event follows a successful pilot at St Mary’s stadium in February when Southampton FC took on Cardiff City, with more than 100 football supporters tested prior to kick off.
The concept was developed by Dr Mike Sadler, a clinical non-executive director at University Hospital Southampton, and enables specialist doctors and nurses to identify a person’s risk of type 2 diabetes within five minutes.
Visitors of all ages and genders from both teams will be offered the opportunity to give a finger prick blood sample to measure HbA1c, which is a marker of how much sugar (glucose) has been in the blood over the last two to three months.
This will highlight whether or not a person is at risk of type 2 diabetes or likely to have it. 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 another one million people are undiagnosed and a further 12.3 million are at increased risk of developing it, with middle-aged males a group at higher risk and also 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.
Screening, which will be carried out by clinicians from UHS, Solent NHS Trust and the Diabetes Research and Wellness Foundation, is being funded by a national newspaper and supported by The Ageas Bowl.
“Our pilot at Southampton FC in February was an overwhelming success and it proved an innovative way to try to capture some of those people who may be at increased risk of developing diabetes but do not attend testing with their GP,” said Dr Patel, a consultant in diabetes at UHS.
“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 ensuring diagnosis as early as possible is imperative.”
Jenni Douglas-Todd, a non-executive director at UHS and part of the screening team, added: “When we performed this type of screening project at St Mary’s in February it was a UK first for football and now we will be following that up with a first for cricket.
"As before, this wouldn't be possible without the support of the diabetes teams at UHS and Solent NHS Trust, the Diabetes Research and Wellness Foundation and The Ageas Bowl, where staff have been so accommodating.”
Stuart Robertson, Ageas Bowl director and director of Hampshire Cricket’s official charity, Hampshire Cricket in the Community, said: “We are delighted to be able to accommodate this important screening programme, not least because it fits perfectly with one of the key aims of Hampshire Cricket in the Community which is to help improve the wellbeing of people in our community.
“A sports and leisure-based organisation like ours, should be able to help and inspire fans and neighbours alike, to lead healthier lives wherever possible.”
Testing will take place in The Hambledon Suite at The Ageas Bowl from 5.30pm.
Posted on Friday 9 August 2019