Call for thousands at risk of Type 2 diabetes in East Midlands to act now

Thousands of people who are at an increased risk of developing Type 2 diabetes in the East Midlands are being urged to prevent or delay the onset of the condition ahead of Diabetes Prevention Week which runs from 23 – 29 May.

Over 67,000 people in the Midlands have already been spared Type 2 diabetes thanks to the world leading Healthier You: NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme. 

Angelika Hall has lost an amazing 44kg through the Diabetes Prevention Programme.

People enrolled in the programme get advice on healthy eating and exercise that can prevent them developing the condition, avoiding the need for medication and complications such as amputations.

In the Midlands, 67,838 people have attended the first session of the programme since it was first launched in 2016, with an average weight loss of 3.7kg, six months after attending the first session. For those who attend the session at nine months, the average weight loss is 5.0kg. 

Since then, the NHS Long Term Plan expanded access so that in the Midlands up to 38,000 people a year will benefit as part of radical NHS action to tackle rising obesity rates and to prevent Type 2 diabetes.

Black and South Asian people have a higher risk of getting Type 2 diabetes after the age of 25, compared with those from a White background where risk increases after the age of 40.

In the East Midlands, the area with the highest prevalence of Type 2 diabetes is Leicester City where 9.70% of people were diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes.

Around one in eight people between 20 and 79 years old have their death attributed to diabetes and it is expected to rise. The life expectancy on average is reduced by up to 10 years for people with the condition.

Being diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes can have a devastating impact on people and their families – it is a leading cause of preventable sight loss in people of working age and is a major contributor to kidney failure, heart attack, stroke and many of the common types of cancer.

Anyone who is at risk of Type 2 diabetes who would like more information on the Healthier You: NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme or have any other concerns related to their health, should contact their GP practice.

Angelika Hall, 68, from Oadby in Leicestershire has completed the NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme with Xyla Health & Wellbeing and has seen some amazing changes since starting her journey. Since joining the programme Angelika has lost 44kg. “I am down to a size 14-16 dress size and I feel heaps fitter,” says Angelika. “I had a blood test in September which came back in the normal range.”

“I cut right back on carbohydrates and sugars and upped my consumption of vegetables and certain fruit – apples and blackberries. I also made sure I got a lot more exercise. There is lots of great information regarding nutrition such as what to check for on packaged food. The feeling of being part of a group of people with similar health issues really stood out to me.”

Professor Azhar Farooqi, Co-Clinical Director for the Midlands Cardiovascular Disease and Respiratory Network and GP at East Leicester Medical Practice, said:

“The numbers of people at risk of developing Type 2 diabetes are ever increasing in the East Midlands. So, there has never been a better time to lose weight, exercise more and eat more healthily.

“Living with obesity is the single greatest risk factor and extra weight gained as people lived through the COVID pandemic, means people are at higher risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.

“The good news is that people such as Angelika are significantly reducing their risk by making small lifestyle changes with support from their local NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme.

“The Programme lasts between nine and 12 months and is designed to stop or delay the onset of Type 2 diabetes through advice and support on healthier eating, weight management and physical exercise.

Peter Shorrick, Midlands and East Regional Head at Diabetes UK, said:

“We are proud to support this campaign. The number of people with diabetes is increasing every year and it is vital that as we look to our post COVID-19 future, we ensure preventing the rise of Type 2 diabetes cases is a priority.

“We know with the right support, up to half of Type 2 diabetes cases – and the accompanying risk of developing life-threatening complications – can be delayed or prevented.

“It is really important that people know and understand their risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. Diabetes UK’s Know Your Risk tool only takes five minutes and gives you the power to access support and information that could change your health for the better. People should also contact their GP practice for more information and support.

“I urge people across the Midlands to check their risk and find out the steps you can take to reduce this risk.”