Raising awareness of diabetes risk

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People are being urged to learn more about the risks of diabetes during a prevention week later this month.

Diabetes Prevention Week runs from Monday until Sunday, April 22, and aims to make members of the public more aware of the risks of Type 2 diabetes.

In Lincolnshire, 50,000 people are living with diabetes, which is roughly eight per cent of the population.

Health specialists also hope to educate people about the NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme, known as NDPP, during the week.

Nikki Pepper, diabetes prevention project officer in Lincolnshire, said: “Type 2 diabetes is often linked to lifestyle. It represents a real threat to health and if untreated it can lead to stroke, blindness, heart disease, kidney failure and lower limb amputation.

“Even if you are at high risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, it can still be prevented by losing weight, eating healthily and being more active.

“You can help to prevent Type 2 diabetes by making small, simple lifestyle changes such as not taking sugar in your tea or coffee, walking to the shop instead of driving and eating brown bread instead of white bread.”

The programme lasts nine months and provides personalised help to those at risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, through improved food choices, weight loss and personal exercise programmes. GPs can refer people to the programme and the sessions are free to attend.

Lincolnshire CCGs are also working with Lincolnshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust on a pilot project which will support people suffering with diabetes to manage the impact the long term illness can have on their mental health.

Georgia Evans, 61, from Stamford, has recently been attending the Bourne group as part of the NDPP. She said it has helped her be more motivated to make lifestyle changes.

“Diabetes runs in my family so I was considered to be high risk.

“I also have a thyroid condition so was regularly monitored through my GP surgery which kept a close eye on my blood sugar levels. When they continued to increase I was told that I would be eligible to join the National Diabetes Prevention Programme and decided to join.

“The group is lovely and sociable. The tea breaks provide an opportunity to speak to others.

“I have learned more about the food that I eat. I have reduced my carbohydrates intake and am more conscious about the sugar that I eat.

“I feel a lot better and would definitely recommend the course.”

Charles O’Connor, 65, from Bourne also attends the Diabetes Prevention Programme group in the town.

He said: “I have put weight on over the last two and a half years as I had a physical job before I retired and now I am not as active.

“Since being on the course, I have lost 16 pounds in seven weeks, mainly from eating low carbs and exercising more. I try to cycle or walk whenever possible.

“I feel better as well. I’ve got a pair of trousers I’m aiming to get back into, so I’ll be alright if I do that.”

A series of events are being held across Lincolnshire during Diabetes Prevention Week to raise awareness of Type 2 diabetes and the National Diabetes Prevention Programme. One is at Waitrose in Stamford on Tuesday from 11.30am until 
6.30pm.

An event is also being held at Oakham Market on Saturday, April 21, between 9am and 5pm, when a Silver Star Mobile Diabetes unit will visit. The aim is to help people find out if they run the risk of developing Type 2 
diabetes.

An online assessment, developed by Diabetes UK, the University of Leicester and the University Hospital of Leicester NHS Trust is available at https://riskscore.diabetes.org.uk/start