This year’s Diabetes Prevention Week is reminding people that they can reduce their risk of developing Type 2 diabetes by making some simple changes to their lifestyle.
The week, which runs from 16 – 22 April and is being backed by NHS Bath and North East Somerset Clinical Commissioning Group, aims to raise public awareness that Type 2 diabetes can be prevented by:
- Losing weight
- Eating healthily
- Being more active
Dr Jim Robinson, GP Partner and Diabetes Lead for Harptree Surgery, said: “Type 2 diabetes is a condition caused by chronic exposure to too much sugar and too much insulin. It represents a real threat to health and if left untreated can lead to stroke, blindness, heart disease, kidney failure and lower limb amputation.
“The best way to reduce your risk of diabetes is to eat a healthy, preferably Mediterranean, diet, avoid snacks and sugar, exercise regularly – at least 30 minutes, five times a week – and control your weight. Being overweight is usually a sign that your sugar intake is too high, either through unhealthy snacks, or through ‘hidden’ sugars such as lots of bread, rice and pasta.
“If you need advice on diabetes, weight and diet, then see your GP, or visit the NHS Choices website. Remember, Type 2 diabetes is a preventable and reversible condition.”
Within B&NES there are 8,000 people living with Type 2 diabetes. If you think you might be at risk from Type 2 diabetes ask your GP if you are eligible for the national NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme (NHS DPP). This is a free personalised programme to help you with your weight, healthy eating and exercise.
One local resident who has benefitted from the NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme is Janet Tooze, 68, from Midsomer Norton.
Janet had a routine blood test for her high cholesterol but she had no idea her blood sugar was also high. “When I got the letter I just knew I had to do something about it,” she said.
Janet found the way the programme was delivered especially helpful. “It was a gradual education of what is right and what is wrong and it was up to you to make the choice. But it was put to you in such a way that you wanted to do it.”
She said that the group dynamic contributes to the positive experience. “Everyone else encourages you as well, because we’re all doing it together.
“I’ve lost over a stone now and people keep telling me how great I’m looking!
“I was on the borderline of needing blood pressure tablets but now it’s down to a healthy level.”
There is also a new diabetes education programme for newly-diagnosed patients available in B&NES called X-Pert. Provided by Virgin Care, X-Pert is a free six-week group programme that aims to develop patients’ knowledge, skills and confidence to help them make informed decisions about lifestyle and diabetes management.
To find out if you are at risk of developing Type 2 diabetes:
- Go to diabetes.org.uk/risk
- Take up the offer of a free NHS Health Check, which will assess your risk of diabetes, cardiovascular disease and hypertension
- Ask your GP or practice nurse for a blood test to check blood sugar levels
You can find out more about the NHS DPP at www.england.nhs.uk/ndpp or ask a member of your GP Practice team.