Diabetes Prevention Week, which takes place from Monday 23 to Sunday 29 May, is aimed to raise awareness of Type 2 diabetes and to encourage everyone to ‘know their risk’ by using this handy online tool.
Research has consistently shown that lifestyle interventions - including diet, physical activity and sustained weight loss - can be effective in reducing the risk of Type 2 diabetes by about 50%.
Being diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes can have a devastating impact on people and their families. It is a leading cause of preventable sight loss and a major contributor to kidney failure, heart attack, stroke and many of the common types of cancer.
Black and South Asian people have a higher risk of getting Type 2 diabetes after the age of 25, compared with those from a White background where risk increases after the age of 40.
Around one in eight people between 20 and 79 years old have their death attributed to diabetes and it is expected to rise. The life expectancy on average is reduced by up to 10 years for people with the condition.
Anyone at high risk of developing the condition may be eligible to join their local Healthier You: NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme, a joint initiative from NHS England and NHS Improvement, Public Health England and Diabetes UK.
People should contact their GP practice for more information or the Diabetes UK ‘Know Your Risk’ tool also enables people to register themselves onto a session.
People enrolled in the programme get advice on healthy eating and exercise that can prevent them developing the condition, and therefore avoiding the need for medication and complications such as amputations.
Local GP and Diabetes Lead, Dr Ian Chan, said: “There are several risk factors for Type 2 diabetes, some of which, such as age or family history can’t be changed.
“However, there are other risk factors such as your weight which are very much in your control – indeed, the risk of Type 2 diabetes can be reduced by getting support to lose weight, becoming more physically active and eating healthy food.
“It’s very important that you find out if you are at high risk of Type 2 diabetes, so you can get support to lower your risk. You may also be eligible to sign up for your free local Healthier You NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme.
“The programme provides personalised support to help people achieve a healthy weight, improve their diet and become more physically active – a combination which has been shown to reduce the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.”
People who suspect they may be at risk of Type 2 diabetes are advised to speak to their GP or refer themselves to a local support programme here.