Monday 26 August 2019

New website suggests that people in Wexford are failing to manage chronic diseases

Dr Stephen Bowe
Dr Stephen Bowe


A large number of Wexford residents are failing to manage conditions such as Asthma and Type 2 Diabetes, according to a new data-based website.

The finding comes following the launch of website,, which aims to inform the public of the cost of chronic disease in Ireland. The site, which was produced by pharmaceutical group Boehringer Ingelheim in conjunction with patient groups, analyses the prevalence and cost of four chronic illnesses.

Findings for Wexford show that 5.2 per cent of the population have been diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes, with 77 per cent of these people not achieving the recommended HbA1c. The HbA1c test is a long-term measure of blood glucose control. The site suggests that, as a result of inadequate management, almost 30 per cent of those diagnosed have diabetic kidney disease with 10 per cent having developed diabetic retinopathy.

Asthma statistics for the county show that 9.8 per cent of the population suffer from Asthma, with 60 per cent of these cases considered to be poorly controlled. The disease has a knock-on effect on Wexford businesses, with 29 per cent of those affected reported to miss work due to their illness.

The website reports high incidences of Chronic Lung Disease (known as Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) in the county, with 9.6 per cent of the population said to suffer from Chronic Bronchitis, Emphysema or a combination of both.

The prevalence of irregular heartbeat diagnosis (Atrial Fibrillation) is lower, with 1.3 per cent of people in Wexford reported to suffer from the problem. However, 79 per cent of those who have been advised to take anti-coagulants are reportedly not doing so. As a result, over 2.1 per cent of them will suffer potentially unavoidable strokes.

Commenting on the website, Dr. Stephen Bowe pointed out that the term 'poorly-controlled' can be understood in various ways.

'We also must remember that the pharmaceutical industry has a vested interest in people being more compliant with medication,' he added.

According to Dr. Bowe, medical professionals must understand that it is difficult for patients to make drastic changes to their lives when diagnosed.

'Medicine is an art rather than a science. You need to take on board people's willingness to make changes,' he explained. 'Doctors can encourage patients and advise them gently. Some will be more proactive than others. As a doctor, you must allow for all of this when organising a treatment programme.'

Wexford People

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