GPs encourage making healthier choices to prevent diabetes

NHS partners in Staffordshire are asking people to make small changes as part of Diabetes Prevention Week (1-7 April 2019). Type 2 diabetes can be prevented by eating healthy food, moving more and losing weight.

Diabetes can cause heart disease, stroke, blindness, kidney disease, the loss of limbs, and early death. It costs the NHS £8.8 billion every year to treat, yet it is preventable.

Diabetes is a condition that causes a person’s blood sugar level to become too high. There are two types of diabetes: -

Type 1: Where the body's immune system attacks and destroys the cells that produce insulin

Type 2: Where the body doesn't produce enough insulin, or the body's cells don't react to insulin. This is the most common type of diabetes and is preventable. Around 9 in 10 people with diabetes have type 2.

You are more likely to get diabetes if:

  • you are overweight,
  • you don't do much exercise,
  • or someone else in your family already has it.

You are even more at risk if you are also

  • over 40,
  • or from south east Asian, Chinese, African Caribbean, or black African descent.

Dr Bhushan Rao, GP in Staffordshire and MacMillan GP said: “It is estimated that around five million people in England are currently at risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

“There are things you can do to reduce your risk of developing this condition. Make sure you get a good amount of exercise; aim for 2.5 hours week. This can include time at the gym, a brisk walk or climbing the stairs.

“It is also important that you maintain a healthy, balanced diet. Try to limit the amount of cakes and sweets you eat and replace them with healthier snacks. Limit how much alcohol you drink, this will also reduce your risk of developing diabetes.”

The 'Healthier You' Diabetes Prevention Programme is being offered to people who are at a higher risk of diabetes. GPs can refer people who have had a recent blood test indicating they have too much sugar in their blood. The programme provides support to make lifestyle choices that can prevent type 2 diabetes. This includes advice on how to reduce weight, east differently, and access local physical activities.

Since the programme started last year in Staffordshire, 1,161 eligible people have been referred by their GP.

Contact your GP for more information.

For more information on diabetes and what you can do to prevent it, visit the NHS website and the Healthier You website.