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Featured Wednesday, Jul 29 2020

Life-changing programme online for people at risk of diabetes

People who are at high risk of developing Type 2 diabetes can now sign themselves up online to join their free local ‘Healthier You NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme’.

This new service has been launched as part of a series of measures in response to COVID-19. Recent findings show that people with diabetes face a significantly higher risk of dying with COVID-19 but better management of the condition can help improve control and lead to better outcomes.

Whilst over 2,600 people across Slough, Windsor, Ascot, Maidenhead, Bracknell, Surrey Heath and North East Hampshire and Farnham have been referred onto the programme by their GP since August last year, the number of new referrals has fallen due to a reduction in people coming forward to their GP and as a result of NHS Health Checks not being carried out as usual.

Nationally, over half a million people have been referred onto the programme, and those completing the programme who were overweight or obese have lost on average 3.6kg, greater than originally predicted.

If you, a loved one or someone you know thinks that you may be eligible to join your local programme, then please complete the Diabetes UK risk tool at riskscore.diabetes.org.uk.

If you are identified as being moderate to high risk of Type 2 diabetes using this tool, you will be able to sign up to the programme online. During the Covid-19 pandemic the programme is being delivered remotely via group video conference, or online through apps and websites.

Anyone who is unable to use the Diabetes UK risk tool to sign up can still be referred by their GP practice.

Dr Raj Thakkar, Long Term Conditions Lead for Thames Valley and Hampshire Clinical Networks, NHS England and NHS Improvement South East said:

“Living with Type 2 diabetes is a daily challenge for millions of people and knowing they are more at risk if they are infected with coronavirus will be worrying, but the NHS has taken action to help people and keep them safe, including the opportunity to sign up to the Healthier You programme online.

“Access to trusted information and support is key to helping people manage their diabetes. The NHS’s highly successful, world-leading diabetes prevention programme is helping hundreds of thousands of people take small steps to get control of their own health. It is a fantastic way for people who are pre-diabetic to reduce the risk of developing diabetes and the associated risk of cardiovascular disease, such as heart attack and stroke.”

Many people have type 2 diabetes without realising. This is because symptoms do not necessarily make you feel unwell.

Symptoms of type 2 diabetes include:

  • peeing more than usual, particularly at night
  • feeling thirsty all the time
  • feeling very tired
  • losing weight without trying to
  • itching around your penis or vagina, or repeatedly getting thrush
  • cuts or wounds taking longer to heal
  • blurred vision

You’re more at risk of developing type 2 diabetes if you:

  • are over 40 (or 25 for south Asian people)
  • have a close relative with diabetes (such as a parent, brother or sister)
  • are overweight or obese
  • are of south Asian, Chinese, African Caribbean or black African origin (even if you were born in the UK)

For more information, visit https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/type-2-diabetes/

ENDS

Case study

Pauline’s making a habit of her health kick with the help of online sessions

Yoga fan Pauline from Surrey joined her local Healthier You NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme after being identified as being at risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. For the last few months, due to social distancing restrictions, Pauline has been attending sessions online.

She said: “I find the virtual Healthier You programme sessions so useful whilst we are unable to get to physical meetings – they keep me on track and encourage me.

“I think it could be very tempting to drop out and think ‘oh, I’ll get back on the programme when life gets back to normal’ but, unfortunately, we don’t know when ‘normal’ is going to come along. Type 2 diabetes prevention needs to be a lifetime habit, not just when it’s convenient.

“I am certainly taking the opportunity to change my life for good. I was very fortunate that I was diagnosed as pre-diabetic when I was just on the borderline so the Healthier You programme has enabled me to reverse my diagnosis in three months. Now I am making my newly-learned healthy habits and lifestyle second nature.”

If you, a loved one, so someone you know thinks that you may be eligible to join your local programme, then please complete the Diabetes UK risk tool at riskscore.diabetes.org.uk

If you are identified as being moderate to high risk of Type 2 diabetes using this tool, you will be able to sign up to the programme online. During the Covid-19 pandemic the programme is being delivered remotely via group video conference, or online through apps and websites.

Anyone who is unable to use the Diabetes UK risk tool to sign up can still be referred by their GP practice.

Ends

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