People are being urged to eat healthily and be more active in order to help reduce their risk of type 2 diabetes during Diabetes Prevention Week.
It is estimated that more than people in Coastal West Sussex 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.
Diabetes and its complications cost more than £6billion every year to treat and one in six patients in hospital has diabetes.
Around nine in ten people with diabetes have type 2 diabetes which is closely linked to obesity and yet is largely preventable by eating healthily, being more active and losing weight.
GPs and healthcare professionals in Coastal West Sussex are using Diabetes Prevention Week, which started on Monday, to urge residents to find out if they are at risk and take action to improve their future health.
The NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme is a free local service for those who are at risk of type 2 diabetes.
The programme is designed to stop or delay the onset of the disease through a range of personalised lifestyle interventions, including education on lifestyle choices, advice on how to reduce weight through healthier eating and bespoke physical activity programmes.
Boat builder Kevin Enticknap is just one of the 85,000 people at risk of developing diabetes in West Sussex. But thanks to the diabetes prevention programme the Shoreham resident has a new lease of life.
Kevin thought he was reasonably fit and healthy but when he went to his doctor with chest pains his GP detected high sugar levels in his blood.
She referred him to the local Healthier You: NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme and after just four sessions Kevin had lost 9lbs and could bend down and tie up his shoelaces for the first time in years.
The 63-year-old, who also works for a building company, said: “Being told by my doctor that I was borderline diabetic was not the best day of my life, especially having very sadly lost my cousin to a diabetic related problem.
“I thought I was reasonably fit and healthy, how wrong I was. The information I have received from the course has made me re-think my lifestyle, including my eating habits in a totally different way and wow, what a difference it has made to me both mentally and physically.”
Kevin regularly attends diabetes prevention sessions near his home which look at the causes and remedies of type 2 diabetes, encourages patients to achieve a healthy weight, be physically active and eat a balanced diet.
He said: “The course has been amazing, lots of information presented very clearly and lots of answers to my questions.”
Healthier You was launched in West Sussex in September and in the past ten months almost 1,000 people have been referred on to the free programme.
You can check to see if you are at risk of type 2 diabetes at diabetes.org.uk/risk
You can also find further information about the NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme on NHS England’s website at www.england.nhs.uk/ourwork/qual-clin-lead/diabetes-prevention
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