Although there are around 200,000 people diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes every year, there are things you can do to reduce your risk.
This April, the NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme (NHS DPP) is holding the second Diabetes Prevention Week (1-7 April). We’ve teamed up with them to raise awareness of their Healthier You programme. This is a free service run by the NHS to help reduce the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.
Making small changes to your lifestyle now can make a big impact on your future health.
But don’t take our word for – let’s have a chat with Mabel who discovered she was at risk and decided to do something about it.
After a routine blood test revealed she was borderline diabetic, Leeds-based Mabel Oikelome was understandably concerned. Fortunately, her GP was able to refer her to the Healthier You: NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme where she had some surprising results.
“I wanted to address the issue straightaway as several family members are diabetic and I realised there was a very real risk I could get the condition,” said Mabel. “My doctor explained that as I have high blood pressure and high cholesterol these could also contribute to it. Admittedly, I had put on weight around my waist and stomach which was unusual for me. I had been a size 10/12 for years but my dress size had gone up over time to a 14/16.”
The Healthier You programme, currently run by health services provider Ingeus, is designed to help participants manage their risk of getting Type 2 diabetes – with a view to reducing or even avoiding that risk altogether.
Mabel, 62, joined a group in Leeds.
“I learned a lot about diabetes including which foods were better than others, some surprised me, and that sitting down a lot was bad! Like many people, after dinner I would sit down and rest and possibly nod off. The programme reminded me to get up and move around as often as I can.
“The weight loss was slow at first. I felt a little discouraged and fell back into old habits momentarily, but then I reminded myself of my other family members, including my brother who has Type 2 diabetes and I said: “You’ll do yourself serious harm!” Thankfully, I got back on the wagon by cutting down on sugary things and moving around more.”
At the same time, Mabel started her own house-keeping business which kept her on her toes and required her to keep her energy levels up with a healthier diet.
“I started to notice that my clothes were baggier and I went to try on a size 10 and it fit. I was very excited. When I went to the doctors for a check-up, they confirmed that I’d lost five kilos and my cholesterol was much improved.
“It’s obviously not just about the weight, but that is a factor. I feel healthier now. Before, I got tired easily but now I have more energy. I don’t feel my age and I’m stronger. What’s more, it hasn’t just helped me, I’ve been able to share what I’ve learned with my family and I hope we can all be healthier going forward.”
The Healthier You: NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme is delivered in conjunction with local NHS partners if you’d like to know more visit www.leeds.gov.uk/diabetes