Reduce your risk of Type 2 diabetes
GPs in Southwark are encouraging people to reduce their risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, as part of a national campaign.
Diabetes Prevention Week runs from 1 April and raises awareness of the disease, the causes and groups that might be at particular risk.
Every two minutes someone finds out that they have Type 2 diabetes, which can lead to very serious long-term health problems and even blindness, kidney failure or loss of a limb. Those who suffer from diabetes are also at least twice as likely to have a heart attack or stroke.
Anyone can develop Type 2 diabetes, however certain groups can be at increased risk:
- If you are over the age of 40, or over the age of 25 if you're black or south Asian
- If you have a close relative – such as a parent, brother or sister – with type 2 diabetes
- If you're overweight, especially around the middle, or if you've ever had high blood pressure.
Although there are certain factors that affect the chances of developing Type 2 diabetes, there is strong evidence to suggest maintaining a healthy lifestyle can delay or even prevent it.
In Southwark, the number of people diagnosed with pre-diabetes - essentially a warning sign for those at risk of developing Type 2 diabetes – has risen from approximately 4,500 in 2015, to over 23,000 in 2019.
Those at risk may be able eligible for support through the Healthier You NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme, which provides guidance on diet, weight and being more active - all of which can prevent or delay type 2 diabetes; or the Walking Away from Diabetes programme - an education programme for pre-diabetics that teaches participants how to reduce their risk of diabetes through lifestyle changes and increased physical activity.
Anyone can find out their risk of developing Type 2 diabetes through the online 'Know Your Risk Tool' and those over 40 can get a free NHS Health Check. If they are then found to be at risk, they can be referred to the Diabetes Prevention Programme or Walking Away from Diabetes through their GP.
You are also more at risk:
- If you've ever had a heart attack, stroke, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder or depression, or are receiving treatment with anti-psychotic medication
- If you are a woman who has had polycystic ovarian syndrome, gestational diabetes, or given birth to a baby weighing over 10 pounds
If you think you or a family member may be at risk, ask at your GP practice about your local diabetes prevention service.