Lincolnshire has over 40,000 people living with diabetes, including some of the highest rates of type 2 diabetes in the country.
However, 90 per cent of diagnoses could have been prevented by undertaking simple lifestyle changes.
Philippa Brown, Diabetes Prevention Project Officer in Lincolnshire, said diabetes is a complex condition that requires lifelong medical care and treatment to help control blood sugar levels.
She said: “Diabetes can lead to devastating complications which can affect many different parts of your body. At worst, it can kill you. Complications include stroke, blindness, heart disease, kidney failure, and amputations.
“Everyone at risk of type 2 diabetes can do things to keep healthy and to slow down or even stop the development of the condition. Making quite minimal lifestyle changes like eating fruit instead of cakes and biscuits and taking regular short walks, delivers significant results. There is lots of support available for anyone who is at risk of developing type 2 diabetes.”
With over 10,700 people now referred within Lincolnshire, the National Diabetes Prevention Programme is a nine-month programme providing personalised help to people at risk of developing the condition.
Jan Gould-Martin, Regional Service Manager at ICS Health and Wellbeing, who run the programme in Lincolnshire, said: “We’ve helped thousands of people to reduce their risk of type 2 diabetes. The programme supports people to improve their food choices, lose weight and guides them through personalised exercise programmes.
“Your GP practice is able to refer you to the programme if your blood sugar reading is within the eligible range. The programme is free to attend and running locally to where you live.”
Gordon Bruce, who was referred onto the programme by a nurse at his GP Practice, said having high cholesterol was a key factor of him being at risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
He said: “Like many people you don’t pay attention to what you are eating. The programme helped me to get a better understanding of the various components of food that can impact on blood sugar levels.”
John Lawrence was told he was pre-diabetic following a routine blood test.
“It came as a bit of a shock as I don’t often visit my doctor,” he said.
“Lisa who runs the programme has been terrific and has provided me with lots of advice.
“Being part of a group of people all in the same boat really helps as you’re all working together to achieve the same goals.”
Nancy Ng has always tried to eat healthily and keeps active but the recent death of her mother because of complications from type 2 diabetes was a real eye opener.
“Towards the end of her life my mother suffered so much because of her diabetes,” she said.
“She was in a wheelchair, she had kidney failure, and she had to have her leg amputated. Don’t wait until it is too late. Educate yourself now on how to avoid this terrible condition.”
A series of events are being held across parts of Lincolnshire during Diabetes Prevention Week to raise awareness of the condition.
Sam Raybould, Unscheduled & Planned Care Manager at South and South West Lincolnshire CCGs, said the events will give people the opportunity to find out more about the risks associated with type 2 diabetes and how simple lifestyle changes can prevent people from getting the condition.
“We want Diabetes Prevention Week to be the start of a healthy conversation with the people of Lincolnshire about type 2 diabetes,” she said. “We will be asking anyone who attends the events to make a pledge to change one part of their lifestyle which could reduce their risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Anyone who makes a pledge will be entered into a prize draw to win a Fitbit.”
The events are being held on the following dates:
• Monday, April 1 (1pm to 3pm) at Grantham Hospital.
• Tuesday, April 2 (10am to 3pm) at St Hildred’s Shopping Centre, Skegness.
• Thursday, April 4 (10am to 3pm) at the Co-op in Seacroft Road, Mablethorpe.
Food outlets across Lincolnshire are also helping customers make healthier choices.
‘Healthier Options’ is a collaboration between Lincolnshire County Council – Public Health and District Councils.
The initiative aims to help local small and medium-sized food outlets and businesses across Lincolnshire to make healthier changes to their menu and food preparation. For further information, visit www.lincolnshire.gov.uk/healthieroptions
• Diabetes UK provides information and tips for preventing the development of Type 2 Diabetes www.diabetes.org.uk/Preventing-Type-2-diabetes
• To get an estimate of your risk of developing type 2 diabetes, visit https://riskscore.diabetes.org.uk/start