People in the West Midlands are being encouraged to take vital steps to reduce their risk of developing Type 2 diabetes by making some simple changes to their lifestyle ahead of Diabetes Prevention Week, which runs from 22-28 May.
The health complications of getting Type 2 diabetes can be serious and life changing – these could be loss of sight, loss of limbs, increased risk of heart disease, stroke & kidney disease. Whilst Type 1 diabetes cannot be prevented, Type 2 diabetes is largely preventable through lifestyle changes.
More than 3.6 million adults in England have been diagnosed with diabetes; this is equal to more than 1 in 7 of the adult population. Around 90% of people with diabetes have Type 2 diabetes, which can be prevented or delayed for some through being more physically active, eating healthily and managing your weight.
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.
Anyone at high risk of developing the condition may be eligible to join their local Healthier You NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme, a joint initiative from NHS England, Public Health England and Diabetes UK.
The programme supports people to make positive changes to their diet, weight and the amount of physical activity they do – to significantly reduce the risk of developing this disease.
It identifies people at risk of developing Type 2 diabetes and refers them onto a nine-month, evidence-based lifestyle change programme, available both as a face-to-face group service and as a digital service.
People on the face-to-face group service receive personalised support to manage their weight, eat more healthily and be more physically active – which together have been proven to reduce a person’s risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.
The digital service offers similar support but through the use of digital tools such as wearable technologies that monitor levels of exercise, apps where users can access health coaches, online peer support groups and the ability to set and monitor goals electronically.
Research shows the Healthier You NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme has reduced new diagnoses of Type 2 diabetes in England, saving thousands of people from the potentially serious consequences of the condition. It cuts the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes by more than a third for people completing the programme.
Almost one million people have been referred to the programme since it was first launched in 2016, with participants who complete it achieving an average weight loss of 3.3 kg (7.2lbs).
Shib, 68, from the West Midlands said on completion of the programme: “I lost about 18kg (more than 2.5 stones), and my trousers have come down from 42” to 36”! I also had my blood glucose checked again in April and it had come down from 45 mmol/mol to 36mmol/mol!
“I am feeling a lot of benefits of coming on the programme – I didn’t feel ill before I came on the programme, but I now realise I didn’t feel good. I really remember that I would actually get out of breath tying my shoelaces or cutting my toenails as when I bent over, my stomach would push into my chest. I now can do these with no problems.
“I had never done a programme like this, but I learned so much from the programme. Don’t judge it before you try, you don’t have to do everything that is recommended, but the knowledge means you can make an informed decision and you reap what you sow.”
Professor Vinod Patel, West Midlands Clinical Lead for NHS England (Midlands) for Diabetes, said: “The number of people at risk of developing Type 2 diabetes is increasing in the Midlands. This is linked to lifestyle choices; however, the good news is that people can reduce their risk significantly by making small changes through the support provided on the NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme.
“The programme provides advice on eating better, exercising more and managing your weight, all of which can stop or delay the onset of Type 2 diabetes.
“In the Midlands nearly 90,000 people have attended the first NHS DPP session with an average weight loss of 8.15lbs (3.7kg), 6 months after attending the first session. These are fantastic results, all by making safe and sustainable changes. There is also very good evidence to show that diabetes can be reversed in many people by the right amount of weight loss.”
You can now get help to make positive changes to your diet, weight and physical activity to significantly reduce your risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.
Find out if you’re at risk of developing Type 2 diabetes by doing any of the following:
- Answering a few simple questions on the ‘Know Your Risk’ tool at diabetes.org.uk
- Taking up the offer of a free NHS Health Check to assess your risk of Type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and other conditions such as high blood pressure (available for those aged 40-74)
- Asking your GP Practice to check if you are at risk.
If you think you are at risk of Type 2 diabetes, would like more information on the Healthier You NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme or have any other concerns related to your health, please contact your GP practice.