Diabetes Prevention Week

During Diabetes Prevention Week (16-22 April) Luton Clinical Commissioning Group (LCCG) is highlighting the risk factors associated with developing type 2 diabetes and what can be done to prevent it.

Five million people in England are currently at high risk of developing type 2 diabetes. But the good news is that type 2 diabetes is also preventable, even for those at ‘high risk’.

Dr Chirag Bakhai, Clinical Director at Luton CCG, said:

“Type 2 diabetes is a leading cause of blindness, kidney disease and leg problems requiring amputation. It also roughly doubles the risk of heart attacks and strokes.

“Worryingly, more people than ever are developing the condition, despite it being potentially preventable through regular physical activity and maintaining a healthy weight”.

Diabetes Prevention Week (16-22 April) Picture: Luton CCG

Healthier decisions

Some risk factors associated with developing type 2 diabetes cannot be changed. These include being male over the age of 40, having a family history of type 2 diabetes, and having South Asian, African Caribbean or Black African descent.

However the major risk factor of being overweight can be changed. Healthier food choices, getting physically active and achieving a healthy weight are ways to reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

Dr Chirag Bakhai said:

“Making healthy food choices is also really important – it’s not just about sugary foods. Refined and processed foods like white bread don’t taste sweet but can be quickly digested into sugar. Swap sugary fizzy drinks, crisps and highly processed foods for more healthy options”.

Luton resident David Palmer said:

“Last year I was diagnosed as being at high risk of developing type 2 diabetes in mid-December. By making changes to my diet and choosing healthier options, taking up more exercise and by making small lifestyle changes I was able to reduce my weight and become more physically active.

“I was delighted to find out that after three months, the follow up blood test with my GP practice showed a marked improvement in my blood sugar levels.”

Anyone can assess their risk of developing type 2 diabetes by visiting riskscore.diabetes.org.uk; by taking up the offer of a free NHS Health Check at their GP practice (ages 40-74); or by asking their GP practice for a blood test to test their blood sugar levels.