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

Bryan Samuels has lost 2 stone through the Diabetes Prevention programme.

Thousands of people who are at an increased risk of developing Type 2 diabetes in the West 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.

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.

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.

Bryan Samuels, aged 54, from Burton upon Trent, had a referral from the hospital because his blood sugar was high and on the borderline of Type 2 diabetes. “This was a wake-up call that I needed to do something as it was a bit of a health scare,” said Bryan who joined the NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme run locally by Reed. “As it is a lifestyle programme, I started to see the benefits after around six months. I think differently now, have lost two stone and my blood sugars have reduced dramatically. By going on this programme, it’s made me a lot healthier, fitter, energetic and I have more confidence in myself.”

Professor Vinod Patel, Clinical Director Diabetes at NHS England & NHS Improvement in the Midlands, said:

“The numbers of people at risk of developing Type 2 diabetes are ever increasing in the West 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 Bryan 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.”