GPs encourage making healthier choices to prevent diabetes

Herefordshire residents are being urged to eat healthily and be more active in order to help reduce their risk of type 2 diabetes. This advice comes from health leaders across the county who are backing Diabetes Prevention Week (1-7 April 2019). 

Diabetes is a condition that causes a person’s blood sugar level to become too high. There are two types of diabetes:

  • Type 1: Where the body's immune system attacks and destroys the cells that produce insulin
  • Type 2: Where the body doesn't produce enough insulin, or the body's cells don't react to insulin. This is the most common type of diabetes.

Diabetes and its complications cost £8.8 billion every year to treat, and one in six patients in hospital has diabetes. Around nine in 10 people with diabetes have type 2. This is closely linked to obesity and yet is largely preventable by eating healthily, being more active and losing weight.

Dr Ian Tait, GP and Clinical Chair for NHS Herefordshire Clinical Commissioning group, said: “It’s estimated that around five million people in England are currently at risk of developing type 2 diabetes which can lead to other serious conditions including strokes, heart disease, limb amputation and early death. 

“There are a number of things you can do to reduce your risk of developing this condition. Make sure you get a good amount of exercise; aim for 2.5 hours week. This can include time at the gym, a brisk walk or climbing the stairs.

“It’s also important that you maintain a healthy, balanced diet. Try to limit the amount of cakes and sweets you eat and replace them with healthier snacks. Limiting your alcohol consumption will also reduce your risk of developing diabetes.”

The NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme, ‘Healthier You’, is a free local service for those who are at risk of developing type 2 diabetes. The programme is designed to stop or delay the onset of the disease through a range of personalised lifestyle interventions. These include education on lifestyle choices, advice on how to reduce weight through healthier eating and bespoke physical activity programmes.

There is also support available for people who have already been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. Contact your GP for more information.

And to mark Diabetes Prevention week, the Herefordshire Diabetes Support Group is to hold a stand at the main reception at Hereford County Hospital on Wednesday, April 3, from 10am to 2pm, where people can pop along and ask questions, pick up leaflets and make any general inquiries about Diabetes.

For more information on the signs and symptoms or diabetes and what you can do to prevent it, visit the NHS website and the Healthier You website.