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Over 353,000 people in the East Midlands urged to reduce the devastating impact of diabetes

Over 353,000 people in the East Midlands estimated to have diagnosed and undiagnosed diabetes are being urged to act now ahead of World Diabetes Day on 14 November.

All people with diabetes should undergo a diabetes care review at least once annually so GPs can monitor their health. This is to reduce the chance of diabetes related complications, so anyone who has not had their diabetesreview in over a year, should not delay and contact their GP today.

Thousands of people in the region have undiagnosed type 2 diabetes, which is far more common than type 1, and accounts for around 90% of all adult cases in the UK.

The health complications of getting type 2 diabetes can be serious and life changing – this could be loss of sight, loss of limbs, increased risk of heart disease, stroke & kidney disease.

NHS action to combat the problem includes the world-first Healthier You: Diabetes Prevention Programme which identifies people at high risk of diabetes and supports them in living a healthier lifestyle.

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Over 67,000 people in the Midlands have already been spared type 2 diabetes thanks to the programme. Since then, the NHS Long Term Plan expanded access so that in the Midlands up to 38,000 people a year will benefit as part of radical NHS action to tackle rising obesity rates and to prevent type 2 diabetes.

People enrolled in the programme get advice on healthy eating and exercise that can prevent them developing the condition, avoiding the need for medication and complications such as amputations.

In the Midlands, 67,838 people have attended the first session of the programme since it was first launched in 2016, with an average weight loss of 3.7kg, six months after attending the first session. For those who attend the session at nine months, the average weight loss is 5.0kg.

Richard Rockall, aged 74, from Gainsborough was referred on to the Healthier You: Diabetes Prevention Programme by his GP. “My GP told me that my blood glucose was a bit high and he explained that I might become diabetic if I carried on,” said Richard.

Since attending the programme Richard has lost 2 stone in weight. “I can get into clothes that I hadn’t worn for a long time or that were really tight that I haven’t been able to wear comfortably and I no longer need something to lean on to help me get into a standing position from a seated one. The programme has worked wonders for me.”

People in the East Midlands can find out their risk of type 2 diabetes by completing the Diabetes UK Know Your Risk tool.

Professor Vinod Patel, Clinical Director Diabetes at NHS England in the Midlands, said:

“Thousands of people in the East Midlands are now at risk of joining the expanding ranks of those living with largely preventable type 2 diabetes. So, it’s vital that people act now to exercise more, lose weight and eat more healthily. It is also essential to stop smoking. Smoking carries an increased risk of many different types of cancer and many serious lung conditions. Smoking is also associated with an increased risk of type 2 diabetes.

“Those more at risk include people who are carrying extra weight especially around the middle and anyone who has ever had high blood pressure. Risk also increases with age as people are more at risk if they are white and over 40 or over 25 if they are African-Caribbean, Black African, or South Asian. Anyone who has a parent, brother, sister or child with diabetes is two to six times more likely to get type 2 diabetes.

“The good news is that people such as Richard are significantly reducing their risk by making small lifestyle changes with support from their local NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme.”

Anyone who is at risk of type 2 diabetes who would like more information on the Healthier You: NHS DiabetesPrevention Programme or have any other concerns related to their health, should contact their GP practice.

Peter Shorrick, Midlands and East Regional Head at Diabetes UK, said:

“Checking your risk takes just a few minutes and could be the most important thing you do today. The next step is taking action, enrolling in a prevention programme, such as NHS’s Healthier You. With the right support, reducing your risk of type 2 diabetes is doable and affordable for many people, and a few simple changes can make a big difference. Research shows that these interventions can cut someone’s risk of developing type 2 diabetes by as much as 50%.”

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