Know your risk this diabetes prevention week – 22 – 28 May

11th May 2023

Diabetes is a growing concern in Norfolk and Waveney with just under 72,000 people now living with diabetes.

There are two main types of diabetes – Type 1 and Type 2. Type 1 diabetes requires lifelong treatment with insulin therapy and is not preventable. The more common type 2 diabetes affects around 66,000 people in Norfolk and Waveney, with a further 110,000 adults estimated to be living with prediabetes. Prediabetes describes a condition where blood sugars are higher than they should be putting affected people at very high risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.

There are several risk factors for prediabetes and Type 2 diabetes, some of which can’t be changed but for many people risk can be reduced by getting support to lose weight (where appropriate), getting more physically active and eating healthy food.

People with prediabetes can be offered support through the Healthier You NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme.

Diabetes is a serious, lifelong condition that can affect day-to-day wellbeing and pose a significant risk to health. People living with diabetes are at higher risk of developing heart disease, stroke, nerve damage, foot problems and amputations, vision loss and kidney problems.  New research also shows that people with diabetes may be at higher risk of certain types of cancer.

That’s why health leaders in Norfolk and Waveney are urging everyone to know their risks of developing Type 2 diabetes and encouraging those eligible to take up the offer of support from the Healthier You NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme. 

The risk factors for developing Type 2 diabetes are:

  • Weight. You’re more at risk if you’re overweight, especially if you’re large around the middle
  • Age. The older you are, the more at risk you are.
  • Family history. You’re two to six times more likely to get Type 2 diabetes if you have a parent, brother, sister or child with diabetes
  • Ethnicity. You’re more likely to get Type 2 diabetes if you’re Chinese, South Asian, African-Caribbean or Black-African
  • Blood pressure. You’re more at risk if you’ve ever had high blood pressure.

The National Type 2 Diabetes Prevention Week (22 – 28 May) aims to shed light on the condition, its symptoms and impacts in order to encourage people to understand their risk and take action early.

Dr Clare Hambling, Specialty Advisor for diabetes in NHS Norfolk and Waveney said:

“Maintaining a healthy weight, through eating a healthy, balanced diet and keeping physically active, is the main thing you can do to reduce your risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. Knowing your level of risk early on is also important to motivate you to make those lifestyle changes that will have a positive benefit to your quality of life.

“GP practices are referring patients into the Healthier You NHS Diabetes Prevention programme to provide the support many people need to make lifestyle changes and stay motivated.

“People can also check their personal risk of developing the disease via the online Diabetes UK Know Your Risk tool, if you are high risk you will be advised to contact your GP Practice”

The Healthier You: NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme (NHS DPP) identifies people at high risk of developing Type 2 diabetes and refers them onto a behaviour change programme. Through this programme, people are supported in making changes to different areas of their lifestyle such as nutrition, physical activity, and mental health, all of which have been proven to reduce the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.

The programme helps to keep people on track and motivated to stick with the changes they’re making. A recent attendee of the programme in Norfolk and Waveney said:

“I must thank you so much guiding and educating me through this amazing course. I was unsure what to expect, however moving on almost a year later, I have lost almost a stone in weight, and not Pre- Diabetic. These sessions have pointed out the importance of eating the right foods and regular exercising which has now become part of my everyday routine. I now have a better understanding on how to keep myself healthy and fit by following everything you have taught us over this past year. I really do feel so much healthier now- my sincere thanks. My starting weight at the beginning of the sessions- 56.70k, my weight yesterday, our last session was – 50.35kg”