People at risk need to take action on World Diabetes Day

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People at risk of developing Type 2 diabetes are being encouraged by NHS Sandwell and West Birmingham Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) to make lifestyle changes from today on World Diabetes Day, which takes place on 14 November each year.

12.3 million people in the UK are at risk of developing Type 2 diabetes*. Yet around three in five cases of Type 2 diabetes can be prevented or delayed by maintaining a healthy weight, eating well and being active.** If the condition is diagnosed early and properly managed, people with diabetes can lead long and healthy lives. But if not, it can lead to serious health complications such as blindness, kidney failure, stroke and in some cases early death.

Diabetes is a condition which generally falls into two categories: Type 1 which affects around 10% of the population and Type 2 which affects roughly 90% of the population. Type 1 is usually diagnosed in children or young adults but it can develop at any time. Type 2 starts gradually and is usually diagnosed in later life, however it is now increasingly being found in the younger age group.

The main symptoms of diabetes include:

  • Urinating more frequently (especially during the night)
  • Blurred vision
  • Feeling very tired or thirsty
  • Cuts/wounds which heal slowly
Dr Nick Harding, Chair of NHS Sandwell and West Birmingham CCG, said:

“On World Diabetes Day we are reminding local people that they can reduce their risk of developing Type 2 diabetes significantly, or delay its onset for many years.

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

“However, the good news is that in many cases Type 2 diabetes can be prevented or delayed with lifestyle changes that include improving diet, quitting smoking, reducing alcohol intake, exercising regularly, and losing weight.”

The Healthier You: NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme, offers support to patients to help them build on their own motivation to make realistic changes to their lives, including what they eat and how active they are.

Access to the programme is via referral from a GP, for anyone who has had a blood test in the last 12 months showing they are at risk of Type 2 diabetes. Patients can also request a referral from their GP, if they’ve not yet been offered the programme, but know they’re at risk.

Watch ‘Tom’s story’, here to find out more about the programme: https://youtu.be/om6YdoknqUU

People can find out their own risk of Type 2 diabetes by using Diabetes UK’s online risk tool which is available at http://bit.ly/Kn0wYourR1sk