ALMOST two-thirds of people assessed in Littlehampton for their risk of developing diabetes have been referred to their doctors.
A Healthy Lifestyle Roadshow which visited the town two weeks ago carried out free diabetes checks on 114 people, with 72 of them (63 per cent) identified as being at moderate to high risk of Type 2 diabetes over the next decade.
The percentage was slightly higher than the average in other places which have been visited by the roadshow, but not significantly above, said a spokeswoman for Diabetes UK, which runs the project.
Littlehampton was chosen as a location for the tests partly because of the area’s ageing population, and also because in West Sussex there are estimated to be almost 38,000 people who already have Type 2 diabetes but are unaware of it, in addition to the 34,000 who have been diagnosed.
People visiting the roadshow were asked to provide information on seven key pointers affecting diabetes risk, including gender, age, family history and ethnicity, and were also weighed and had their waist and height measured.
The roadshow also offered advice and encouragement on lifestyle changes, such as adopting a healthy diet low in fat, salt and sugar and taking regular physical activity – hula-hoops were on hand to get across the message that fitness can be fun. Up to 80 per cent of Type 2 diabetes cases could be prevented from these lifestyle changes.
Jill Steaton, Diabetes UK south east regional manager said: “Diabetes is one of the biggest health challenges facing the UK today. It’s frightening that more than 37,700 people in West Sussex have Type 2 diabetes but have no idea they do. It is also concerning that there are so many people at risk of the condition.
“At the roadshow, we’ve been available to help people find out more about their own personal risk, as well as providing valuable information and advice which we hope will help them live more healthily.
“Diabetes is a serious, lifelong condition and the number of people living with it is on the rise. The first step to stopping this increase is making people aware of what they can do to prevent Type 2 diabetes. We want to let them know that we are here to support them make the changes they need.”
Diabetes UK is the charity partner for the Bupa Great Run Series, and the money raised from these runs is being used to fund the Healthy Lifestyle Roadshow.
Paula Franklin, medical director of Bupa UK, said: “We’re pleased that the Diabetes UK roadshow in Littlehampton has helped to educate so many about the risks factors associated with Type 2 diabetes.”
When diagnosed early and managed well, people living with the condition can go on to lead long and healthy lives. But if Type 2 diabetes is left untreated or blood glucose levels are not well managed, the condition can result in serious health complications such as heart attack, stroke, blindness, kidney failure and amputation.
Anyone who was unable to visit the roadshow when it came to Littlehampton can still take the assessment test online at the Diabetes UK website.
If, after taking the test, the outcome suggests they are at risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, they will be advised to contact their GP.