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Living well with diabetes in Southwark

Diabetes can sometimes feel like an uphill battle – but with the right help, information and care you can still get the most out of life. This year national Diabetes Week runs from 15 June and reminds people with diabetes that they are not alone. This year's campaign is focusing on all the things that people who have or care for someone with diabetes can do to make the most of life.

Over 13,000 people living in Southwark have diabetes. Diabetes is a condition that causes a person's blood sugar level to become too high. There are different types of diabetes but the most common form is 'type 2' diabetes, which affects approximately 2.8 million people nationwide. There are also thought to be around 750,000 people with undiagnosed diabetes in the UK.

The main symptoms of diabetes are: feeling very thirsty; passing more urine than normal; feeling very tired; and unexpected weight loss. Type 2 diabetes is also more common if you are overweight or you are of a South Asian, African or Caribbean background.

Linda Drake, local nurse and diabetes lead for NHS Southwark Clinical Commissioning Group said: "If you have any of these symptoms, go and see your GP or practice nurse – especially if you have a history of diabetes in your family.
"They can provide you with the information and support you need to manage your diabetes and to reduce the risk of developing other health problems associated with the condition."

Earlier this year, Southwark was chosen as a demonstrator site for a national diabetes prevention programme, which aims to significantly reduce the four million people in the UK expected to have Type 2 diabetes by 2025. Southwark was chosen on the basis of plans to build on the existing 'Walking Away from Diabetes' programme - an educational scheme that teaches you how to reduce the risk of diabetes through increasing physical activity and making lifestyle changes.

Anyone diagnosed with diabetes can also join a free education programme that can help you to become an expert in managing the condition.

If you are living with diabetes there is a lot that you can do that will help you to take control of the condition and avoid future problems. Your GP or practice nurse will advise you on monitoring your blood sugar levels.

Key steps to managing your diabetes are:

  • Take your medication and insulin properly

  • Maintain a healthy weight – this will help control your blood glucose level

  • Eat a healthy, balanced diet

  • Stop smoking

  • Stay active

  • Have the flu jab every autumn

  • Go to your regular check-ups

When you are diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, the amount of information that you need to understand the impact it can have on your life can be quite overwhelming. You are not alone, there are local services to support you.

Diabetes UK also has advice, information and support including peer support and an online support forum. Find out more by visiting the get involved pages on Diabetes UK.