The NHS in the West Midlands is hoping to raise awareness of the health risks associated with diabetes, encouraging the public to live well and look after themselves as part of Diabetes Week, (11 June to 16 June) and its 70th birthday celebrations on July 5 next month.
More than 440,000 people living in the West Midlands are estimated to have diabetes with almost nine per cent of the annual NHS budget being accounted for looking after people with the condition.
Type 2 diabetes is the leading cause of preventable sight loss in people of working age and is a major contributor to kidney failure, heart attack and stroke.
In the West Midlands there are estimated to be 444 682 patients with diabetes in the West Midlands – an estimated 9.6 per cent of the population over the age of 16.
Kiran Patel, Medical Director, NHS England, West Midlands said: “Type 2 diabetes is a leading cause of preventable sight loss in people of working age and is a major contributor to kidney failure, heart attack, and stroke. We are supporting this awareness week, encouraging the public to look after themselves and help the NHS.
“We are also keen to raise awareness of our Language Matters guide for health professionals, which is about positive interactions with people living with diabetes and subsequently positive outcomes”
During Diabetes Week, NHS organisations are highlighting a number of messages around diabetes including the free support that’s available to those at risk of developing type 2 diabetes through the Healthier You: NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme (NHS DPP).
A Dudley patient explains the benefits of attending the programme: “I went for a blood test and was diagnosed with diabetes. I was surprised because I am vegetarian and have always considered myself to have a healthy diet. I accepted the offer of the living well taking control programme as I clearly had something to learn!
“It has made me look more at food labels and taught me what to watch out for. I now know how combinations of food eaten together at meal times can affect blood sugar levels.
“I have made a number of small changes and I am already seeing the benefits.”
Results from the programme in the West Midlands show that those who have been through the programme have lost an average of 3.5kgs – the equivalent weight of 15 double cheese burgers.
This ground-breaking programme is available across the region and gives people access to free personalised education which empowers them to eat more healthily, become more active and therefore reduces their risk of developing type 2 diabetes.