This Diabetes Prevention Week, April 1 to 7, learn more about the small changes that you can make to your day to day life to reduce the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes and the potentially serious threats to your health that come with it.
Around 200,000 people are diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes every year. It is a serious condition where the insulin your pancreas makes can’t work properly or your pancreas can’t make enough insulin. It can lead to stroke, blindness, heart disease, kidney failure, limb amputation or early death.
Common symptoms of diabetes include:
- Going to the toilet a lot, especially at night.
- Being really thirsty.
- Feeling more tired than usual.
- Losing weight without trying to.
- Genital itching or thrush.
- Cuts and wounds take longer to heal.
- Blurred vision.
Your risk of getting Type 2 diabetes increases with age, if a close family member has diabetes, if you’ve ever had high blood pressure, or if you are overweight. Type 2 diabetes is also two to four times more likely in people of South Asian descent and African-Caribbean or Black African descent.
You can reduce your risk of developing Type 2 diabetes by eating well, moving more and, if you are overweight, by losing weight. This can start with small changes and there is a range of support available to help you.
Find out more information and check your Type 2 diabetes risk score on the Diabetes UK website; www.diabetes.org.uk.
If you think you are at risk of Type 2 diabetes, talk to your GP or Practice Nurse. They can potentially refer you to the ‘Healthier You’ programme. This is the NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme, delivered locally by Ingeus. The ‘Healthier You’ programme can provide you with personalised, tailored advice to help you reduce your risk of Type 2 diabetes. The recently published NHS Long Term Plan has recognised the effectiveness of the programme and makes a commitment to double its availability over the next five years.
Police Community Support Officer, Demetrius Georghiou, always tried to keep fit and eat well but when he started getting daily migraines he booked himself in for a blood test. The results revealed he was at high risk of Type 2 diabetes.
“It was the shock of my life. I didn’t eat sweets or chocolate. It was hard for me because I’m generally very positive but I felt depressed.”
The father of two signed up to his local Healthier You: NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme in Battle.
“I admit I did have some preconceptions about the group. I wasn’t sure I’d fit in, but I needn’t have worried. The educator Jo is a lovely lady and a great communicator. She taught us about hidden sugars, how to see through advertising and to decipher labels. The group members were more mixed than I imagined, of all ages and weights, and we supported each other, sharing our ups and downs.”
“What I learned was that my larger portions – even with the healthier foods like fruit – were giving me an energy overload! What’s more, I’d been eating certain breakfast cereals which seemed healthy from the advertising, but were actually quite high in sugar too.
“I became disciplined. I reduced my portion sizes and increased my exercise, including walking 10 thousand steps a day. My migraines stopped within a week and since starting the programme I’ve lost a stone and a half, plus my waist has gone down a few inches! Seeing results has been a real incentive and I’d say to anyone who’s sceptical, you will see change if you approach it with a positive attitude and stick with it. I still have roasts and wine, but I’m more mindful of what I eat, I savour it and I stick to the right food.
“My family are happy for me, they feel they have the old me back and we support each other. It’s a lifestyle change but one that is made easier by the course and the support we get there.”