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​'Prevention is better than cure' - reduce your risk of Type 2 diabetes


Ask most doctors what you can do to reduce your risk of ill-health and I’d wager they will offer the same advice: eat healthily, exercise regularly, get plenty of sleep and manage your weight.

There’s a saying amongst healthcare professionals that prevention often is better than cure.

In many cases, some conditions that cause long-term health problems can be prevented altogether by making small lifestyle changes.

This is true of Type 2 diabetes – a serious medical condition that can lead to blindness, kidney failure or the loss of a limb. People with Type 2 are also at increased risk of heart attacks and strokes.

Worryingly, more than 200,000 people are diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes every year – costing the NHS around £9billion to treat.

In Southwark, the number of people diagnosed with pre-diabetes – a warning sign for those on the borderline of developing Type 2 – rose from approximately 4,500 in 2015, to over 23,000 in 2019.

This is a growing problem, and one the NHS is seeking to tackle by helping those considered at greatest risk make positive changes to their diet, weight and physical activity – helping to prevent Type 2 diabetes before it starts.

Anyone can find out their chances of developing Type 2 diabetes through the Diabetes UK online ‘Know your risk’ tool – just visit riskscore.diabetes.org.uk to take the test – or a free NHS Health Check (for anyone over 40).

If found to be at risk, you may be eligible for the NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme or Walking Away from Diabetes – both of which provide expert guidance on lifestyle changes to improve your health and wellbeing.

While anyone can develop Type 2 diabetes, some groups are at increased risk, for example if you’re:
  • over 40 years-old;
  • overweight or have had high blood pressure;
  • from South Asian, African-Caribbean or black African descent;
  • or have a close relative – such as a parent, brother or sister – with Type 2 diabetes
If you think you might be at risk, speak to your GP or practice nurse about your local Type 2 diabetes prevention services.

Remember, when it comes to diabetes, prevention is better than cure!