Dr Know: Here is how to reduce your risk of Type 2 diabetes

Katherine Johnston (10 April, 2019) Columnists

'Prevention often is better than cure'

9292Dr Jonty Heaversedge

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, writes Dr Jonty Heaversedge, GP at Manor Place Surgery and  Chair of NHS Southwark Clinical Commissioning Group…

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!

Type 2 Diabetes Prevention Week 2019 ran from1-7 April. For more information about preventing Type 2 diabetes, visit www.preventing-diabetes.co.uk

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