Every two minutes someone finds out that they have type 2 diabetes1 and in the UK around 90% of all adults with diabetes have type 2 2. Here in Southampton there are 13,233 people with diabetes3.
But there are things you can do to prevent type 2 diabetes.
What is type 2 diabetes?
Type 2 diabetes is a common condition that causes the level of sugar (glucose) in the blood to become too high. If untreated it can lead to stroke, blindness, heart disease, kidney failure and lower limb amputation.
Anyone can develop Type 2 diabetes, but certain factors can increase your risk such as:
- Your age - the older you are, the more at risk you are.
- If you have a parent, child, brother or sister with diabetes.
- Your ethnicity – you are more at risk if you are Chinese, South Asian, African-Caribbean or Black-African.
- If you’re overweight, especially around the middle, or if you’ve ever had high blood pressure.
You can’t change some of these risk factors. But others you can.
What can I do to help prevent type 2 diabetes?
Even if you are at high risk of developing type 2 diabetes, it can still be prevented through losing weight, eating healthily and being more active.
Healthier You, the NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme, provides FREE tailored, personalised help to reduce your risk of type 2 diabetes including education on healthy eating and lifestyle, help to lose weight and bespoke physical exercise programmes. The programme is helping people like you and shows real results. To join, speak to your GP. They will check you are eligible to take part and then they can refer you.
If you think you, or someone you know, is at risk of developing type 2 diabetes:
- go to https://riskscore.diabetes.org.uk/start to get an estimate of your risk of developing type 2 diabetes
- take up the offer of a free NHS Health Check which will assess your risk of diabetes, cardiovascular disease and hypertension - the NHS Health Check is available to everyone over 40 and if you are over 40 you are also more at risk of developing diabetes
- ask your GP or practice nurse for a blood test to check blood sugar levels
- if you are invited to attend a Healthier You session, take up the offer.
Find out more about Healthier You at www.stopdiabetes.co.uk or ask a member of your GP practice team.
1 NHS Digital (2018) National Diabetes Audit 2017-18 Short Report, Characteristics of people with diabetes.
3 According to data from the quality and outcomes framework (QOF in January 2019 there were 13,233 people who have diabetes and are registered at a Southampton GP practice.