This April, the NHS England Diabetes Prevention Programme is holding the second Diabetes Prevention Week from Monday 1 April to Sunday 7 April 2019.
What is type 2 diabetes?
Type 2 diabetes is a serious condition where the insulin your pancreas makes can’t work properly, or your pancreas can’t make enough insulin.
There are currently 3.4 million people with Type 2 diabetes in England with around 200,000 new diagnoses every year. While Type 1 diabetes cannot be prevented and is not linked to lifestyle, Type 2 diabetes is largely preventable through lifestyle changes.
Identifying lifestyle factors that put you at risk
A lot of people don’t get any symptoms or they don’t notice them. Some people don’t think the symptoms are important so don’t ask for help. This means that some people live with Type 2 diabetes for up to 10 years before being diagnosed.
Even if you don’t have any obvious symptoms of type 2 diabetes, a quick check on the risk factors should give you some idea if you are likely to develop it.Six in 10 people have no symptoms when they’re diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes.
Risk factors for developing type 2 diabetes include:
- Overweight: Fat produces chemicals which make cells resistant to insulin. Ensuring you keep a healthy weight for your height can eliminate this risk.
- Apple shaped: People with a large waist size are more at risk of developing type 2 diabetes than people who store fat around their hips.
- Older: Most people who develop type 2 diabetes are aged over 40 and the risk rises with age.
- South Asian, Black or Chinese: Certain ethnic groups are at higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes probably because of genetics.
- Family history: Having a sibling or parent with type 2 diabetes increases the risk you will develop it too, but it doesn’t mean it’s inevitable. Keeping to a healthy weight by eating a balanced diet and staying active will greatly reduce the risk.
Reducing your risk of Type 2 diabetes
If you have found out that you are at risk of developing Type 2, it means that you still have the chance to make changes that can delay or prevent Type 2 diabetes.
You can reduce your risk of developing Type 2 diabetes by:
- Eating a balanced diet
- Staying active
- Keeping to a healthy weight
The Healthier You: NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme is a free programme for those who are at risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.
You can find out if you are at risk of developing Type 2 diabetes by:
- Answering a few simple questions on the ‘Know Your Risk’ tool at www.diabetes.org.uk/risk
- Taking up the offer of a free NHS Health Check to assess your risk of Type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and other conditions such as high blood pressure (available for those aged 40-74)
- Asking your GP or Practice Nurse to check if you are at risk
If you are at risk and would like to attend the NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme please ask your GP or Practice Nurse to refer you.
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