Around 90% of people with diabetes in the England have type 2 diabetes. With currents trends suggesting that 1 in 10 people might have the condition by 2030, preventing type 2 diabetes is more important now than ever before.
Although some risk factors such as family history, age and ethnicity cannot be changed, the most important factors such as diet, physical activity and body weight can be addressed to help prevent type 2 diabetes.
The NHS offers the free, 9-month Healthier You NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme for those at high risk of type 2 diabetes and GP practices have referred over 1.3m people.
“The programme’s coaches helped me improve my diet and exercise; I have continued with their advice over three years later.” Says Mabel Oikelome from Rochdale, who joined the programme after being diagnosed as being with non-diabetic hyperglycaemia (pre-diabetes).
“Blindness, strokes, and amputations are just some of the complications resulting from type 2 diabetes, so we must take it seriously.” Says Dr Sandra Isibor, a GP specialising in diabetes and obesity.
Mabel, aged 66 knows all too well the devastating consequences of type 2 diabetes, as her father sadly lost his vision due to the condition. Thanks to the programme, Mabel lost weight and now has normal blood sugar levels.
Bryan Samuels, aged 54, from Burton-upon-Trent, was referred to his local Healthier You NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme and was found to have prediabetes. He says, “This health scare was a wake-up call that I needed to do something”. Bryan’s hard work and commitment meant he left the programme two stone lighter, energised and more confident.
Type 2 diabetes risk factors:
- Age – You are more at risk if you are older; however, for Black or South Asian ethnicities, the risk increases from age 25.
- Family history – You are two to six times more at risk if you have a parent, sibling, or child with the condition.
- Ethnicity – Chinese, South Asian, Black Caribbean or Black African ethnicities have a higher risk of type 2 diabetes.
- Weight – You are more at risk if you live with obesity or are overweight.
- Blood pressure – You are more at risk if you’ve had a high blood pressure diagnosis.
The Healthier You NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme can help you take control of your health and manage your risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
Dedicated coaches and experts, through face-to-face groups, apps or websites, support you in making sustainable lifestyle changes that could reduce your risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
The latest evaluation of the Healthier You NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme showed a 20% reduction in type 2 diabetes amongst referred individuals. Previous analyses have shown that people completing the programme have a 37% lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
To find out your risk of developing type 2 diabetes, search “diabetes know your risk” online and answer a few simple questions on the Diabetes UK website. If the tool indicates you are at increased risk, contact your GP practice for a simple blood test to check your sugar levels and assess for diabetes. If you are found to have non-diabetic hyperglycaemia (pre-diabetes), you might be eligible for a referral to the Healthier You NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme.