They are being supported to change lifestyle habits which could lead to them developing the condition, writes Dr Jonty Heaversedge, chair of Southwark Clinical Commissioning Group.
The patients have been identified as having a high risk of Type 2 Diabetes. Local GPs are then referring them onto the short term Walking Away from Diabetes programme as part of the Healthier You National Diabetes Prevention Programme (NDPP).
For nine months, they are guided through how to change behaviour to significantly reduce their chances of getting Type 2 diabetes. Patients are advised on how to eat well, move more, and permanently change their lifestyles in a friendly and supportive group environment.
Diabetes is one of the UK’s biggest health crises, and it’s on the rise. Some 4.5 million people in the UK are living with diabetes. Its impact and complications can be devastating, causing blindness, amputations, even early death.
However, we are encouraged that we are already making a difference to the lives of these patients we are already helping in Southwark. However, we suspect there are many more who already have Type 2 Diabetes, or have a high risk of developing it, and don’t realise.
One of the biggest risk factors is being overweight, although age, ethnicity and family history can also have an impact. If you are concerned you might be at risk, it is vital that you get checked out; make no mistake, diabetes is a serious condition, but there are things you can do to help manage it and avoid developing serious complications.
There’s an easy way of finding out if you are at risk – visit www.diabetes.org.uk/Preventing-Type-2-diabetes/ and do the simple online test. Alternatively, discuss your concerns with your GP or practice or community nurse.
For more information, please visit www.diabetes.org.uk