Thousands warned of diabetes

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Know your riskThousands of people living in Sandwell and West Birmingham have been warned they are on the cusp of developing diabetes.

In a bid to try and tackle the growing numbers of people developing diabetes, NHS Sandwell and West Birmingham Commissioning Support Unit has been working closely with GP practices to encourage them to refer patients into the NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme.

In 2016/17 310 patients were referred into the programme, but thanks to the Primary Care Commissioning Framework developed by the CCG, in 2017/18 6,693 patients were referred into the programme.

It is thought this will translate into 149 people not developing diabetes.

And as well as the health benefits, this also has huge financial benefits for the NHS, with an estimated annual saving of £369,000 thanks to these patients not developing diabetes.

This week is Diabetes Week (11-17 June) and as the number of people developing diabetes continues to rise in Sandwell and West Birmingham, people are being urged to know the risks and to seek help if they think they have symptoms.

The CCG says people can reduce their risk of developing Type 2 diabetes by making some simple changes to their lifestyle.

Nationally lifestyles and diets are changing, many people are less physically active than in the past and therefore are becoming more overweight. If nothing changes, more than 5 million people will have diabetes in the UK by 2025*.

About 90 per cent of people with diabetes have Type 2 diabetes. It can come on slowly, usually over the age of 40. The signs may not be obvious, or there may be no signs at all, therefore it might be up to 10 years before you find out you have the condition. If you are overweight or obese, you're at an increased risk of Type 2 diabetes, so maintaining a healthy weight is key for prevention.

Type 2 diabetes can cause very serious health problems but sadly more people than ever are developing the condition, despite it being largely preventable.

Dr Nick Harding from NHS Sandwell and West Birmingham CCG said:

“Type 2 diabetes represents a real threat to health and if left untreated can lead to stroke, blindness, heart disease, kidney failure and lower limb amputation. Typical symptoms of Type 2 diabetes include feeling very thirsty, passing urine more often than usual, particularly at night, feeling very tired, weight loss and loss of muscle bulk. It's very important for diabetes to be diagnosed as soon as possible as it will get progressively worse if left untreated.

“The good news is that around three in five cases of Type 2 diabetes can be prevented or delayed with some simple lifestyle changes. The best way to reduce your risk of diabetes is to eat a healthy 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.

“You should aim to have a balanced diet by basing meals around vegetables and include healthy sources of fat such as unsalted tree nuts (walnuts, almonds, hazelnuts), olive oil, avocado, oily fish, meat and full fat dairy.”

The Healthier You: NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme (NHS DPP) will identify those at high risk and refer them onto a behaviour change programme.

The NHS DPP is a joint commitment from NHS England, Public Health England and Diabetes UK.

For more information please download the patient leaflet and flyer

To read about local people's views on the NDPP please click here

Call the Diabetes UK helpline on 0345 123 2399 for any help or advice on diabetes or visit the Diabetes UK Sandwell and West Birmingham group or

More information on Diabetes Week is available at