In this Diabetes Prevention Week (1-7 April), people in south eastern Hampshire are being urged to join a national programme to help them reduce their risk of Type 2 diabetes.
The programme has already achieved significant success rates across the country with more than half of overweight patients who attend sessions achieving an average weight loss of 3.7kg (8.16lbs).
It is easy to find out your risk by simply taking the test at Diabetes UK and contacting your GP if your score puts you at higher risk.
Those in the ‘at risk’ group can take part in a flagship NHS diabetes prevention programme across Hampshire and the Isle of Wight.
Evidence shows that risk increases with age, if you have a family history of diabetes, if you are overweight or have had high blood pressure, or if you are Chinese, South Asian, African-Caribbean or Black African.
Hampshire GP Dr Sarah Schofield said: “More and more people are being diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes. There are opportunities to reduce the chance of getting Type 2 diabetes that we can all make.
“The NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme aims to help people make simple lifestyle changes to reduce the risk of getting the disease and improve their general health and wellbeing.”
Around 90% of all people with diabetes have Type 2 diabetes, which is closely linked to obesity, and there is strong evidence to suggest it is preventable.
A lack of exercise, poor diet and being overweight are all risk factors for developing the disease.
Resident Peter Holmes, 77, is testament to the success of the course, after having been referred in early 2018.
He has seen a dramatic improvement in his health – losing 14.5kg since last April in weight, lower blood sugar levels (from HbA1c1* 43 to 32) and reduced cholesterol.
He said: “I found it extremely interesting – what were said and how it was put over was really helpful. I think it is down to discipline – I feel so much better because my weight is coming down, my blood sugar level is normal and my body mass index has also reduced. I feel that I am now in the right place.”
Mr Holmes is using his experience to compete with his 52-year-old son to lose weight.
Personalised support is offered to those referred to the face-to-face programme. This includes information and advice on healthier eating, diet and being active, which together have been shown to reduce the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. For more information about the NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme contact your GP or visit: www.stopdiabetes.co.uk.
*HbA1c is your average blood glucose (sugar) levels for the last two to three months. A high HbA1c means you have too much sugar in your blood. This means you're more likely to develop diabetes complications, like serious problems with your eyes and feet.