NHS Heywood, Middleton and Rochdale Clinical Commissioning Group (HMR CCG) and Rochdale Borough Council are urging local people to get behind Diabetes Prevention Week 2019, which runs 1-7 April 2019, by getting to know more about the condition and how they can prevent it.
Research by Diabetes UK shows that the Rochdale borough has the highest prevalence of diabetes in the North West, with 8.5 per cent of people diagnosed with the condition.
The charity’s data shows that some 3.8 million people in the UK have diabetes, and 90 per cent of those have Type 2 diabetes. There are also around one million more people living with Type 2 diabetes who don’t know they have it because they haven’t been diagnosed, bringing the total number up to 4.7 million. By 2030 it is predicted this number will rise to 5.5 million.
Dr Sonal Sharma, Clinical Lead for Diabetes at Heywood, Middleton and Rochdale Clinical Commissioning Group (HMR CCG) said: “Diabetes is a life-long condition where there is too much glucose in the blood because the body cannot use it properly. If it is diagnosed early and properly managed, people with diabetes can lead long and healthy lives. But if not it can lead to devastating complications such as amputation, blindness, kidney failure, stroke and in some cases early death.”
Early signs of diabetes are passing urine more often than usual, especially at night; increased thirst; extreme tiredness; unexplained weight loss; genital itching and frequent thrush; slow healing of cuts; and blurred vision. There are two types of diabetes: Type 1 and Type 2.
Dr Sharma continues: “Type 1 diabetes can’t be prevented but Type 2 diabetes is one of the biggest healthcare challenges of our time. High risk groups include people who are overweight, people from South Asian, African Caribbean or Black African descent and men aged over 40. You may also be at risk if you have a family history of diabetes or have ever had high blood pressure. The good news is for many people Type 2 diabetes can be prevented by making small lifestyle changes including eating a healthy, balanced diet; maintaining a healthy weight; and taking regular exercise.
“Around 200,000 people are diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes every year – you don’t need to be one of them. You can find out if you are at risk of developing the condition by answering a few simple questions on the ‘Know Your Risk’ online tool at www.diabetes.org.uk/risk or asking your GP or Practice Nurse to check if you are at risk.”
Andrea Fallon, director of health and wellbeing at Rochdale Borough Council, said: “Diabetes is a growing concern in the borough and effective prevention is essential for tackling it because too many people do not know that they have the disease. Here in Rochdale we have been implementing a range of successful programmes that have enabled us to diagnose more people with the disease, these include the National Diabetes Prevention Programme, and the NHS Health Checks Programme. Both of these are enabling us to find and treat people much earlier than before and I urge anyone who is invited for their health check to attend.”
As part of the National Diabetes Prevention Programme GPs can refer patients at risk to an intensive programme where they can get personalised help to reduce their risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, including education on healthy eating and lifestyle, help to lose weight and bespoke physical exercise programmes, all of which together have been proven to reduce the risk of developing the disease.
The NHS Health Check for people aged 40-74 years can prevent patients from developing the condition and detect those living with undiagnosed diabetes.
Throughout Diabetes Prevention Week, HMR CCG and Rochdale Borough Council will be sharing information and advice about diabetes on social media via Twitter @NHSHMR and @RochdaleCouncil and Facebook @NHS.HMR and @RochdaleCouncil.