Durham and Darlington patients have been urged to make lifestyle changes to both manage and prevent type two diabetes in the run up to World Diabetes Day on Wednesday November 14.
On the day there will be an NHS stand in the market place in Durham City Centre with a clear message of ‘detection, prevention and support’ for patients with type two diabetes.
There are estimated to be more than four million people living with type two diabetes in the United Kingdom, many without a diagnosis, with over 38 000 people across County Durham and Darlington affected by diabetes.
Type two diabetes is caused when an individual’s body cannot produce enough insulin, which leads to high blood sugar levels. Common symptoms include feeling very thirsty, passing urine frequently and tiredness.
Now NHS Durham Dales, Easington and Sedgefield CCG (DDES CCG), North Durham CCG, NHS Darlington Clinical Commissioning Group and NHS County Durham and Darlington Foundation Trust (CDDFT), are working together with Diabetes UK to make patients aware of the signs of type two diabetes to look out for and the lifestyle changes which can help prevent the condition.
Dr Srikanth Mada, Clinical Lead for Diabetes and Endocrinology at CDDFT, said: “The theme this year is ‘Diabetes and the family’. This year’s diabetes awareness day is being held at our market place information stand in Durham City Centre. This is a great opportunity to learn more about type two diabetes and people will have an opportunity to speak to experts to get more information about diabetes in general.
“The CDDFT Diabetes service will be carrying out blood glucose checks, and will be joined on the day by a range of services who can provide health and wellbeing support for people with diabetes. The Wellbeing for Life Service will be there with a range of interactive activities to promote healthy lifestyle choices and offering mini health checks on the day. Diabetes UK will also be attending, along with Durham Carers, Healthwatch Durham and the CDDFT Diabetes Information and Education Team and Weight Management Services.
“The Diabetes Eye Screening service will also be there raising awareness of diabetic eye problems with some interactive resources including glasses that show what it is like to have a visual impairment.
“Solutions for Health Stop Smoking Service will be providing Carbon Monoxide testing, and support for people who want to stop smoking. We are aiming to make this a fun day for all the family with a balloon model maker creating balloon sculptures for children, and the opportunity to take a selfie and make a pledge to prevent diabetes.
“Get yourself there if you can!”
There are a number of so-called at-risk groups of contracting type two diabetes, including anyone who is overweight or has a close relative with diabetes.
Without the right treatment, type two diabetes can lead to a series of health problems, including heart disease, stroke and loss of feeling in feet. The NHS stand will offer advice on how best to manage diabetes and ensure these potential problems are avoided.
Donna from Durham was just 37 when she was diagnosed with type two diabetes earlier this year. She recognised the vital importance of changing her lifestyle to prevent any further complications.
When Donna was diagnosed, she recalls standing in front of the fridge in tears.
Now, having attended a diabetes management course put on by the local hospital trust, Donna feels in control of her diabetes thanks to a low-carb diet and increased physical activity.
Donna, who has two children, said: “I wasn’t sure what I could eat, with my diabetes, high blood pressure and cholesterol. Now I feel I am taking control of my diabetes.
“My eldest daughter identifies with me so it was important that I showed her how I could take control.”
Donna attended the lifestyle course with her husband Simon and dad Robin, who also has type two diabetes.
The whole family has significantly reduced portion sizes and the amount of processed foods they eat.
Donna said: “We used to eat processed foods a lot for convenience. We struggled for time to produce fresh meals but are really starting to enjoy it.”.
The whole family has noticed changes around weight loss within the first six weeks, and are increasing their physical activity.
Pearl Wolstenholme, Health Navigator for the CDDFT Diabetes Information and Education team said: “Donna’s story shows the huge difference a few lifestyle changes can make. Even if you don’t have type two diabetes, small lifestyle changes can greatly reduce your risk of ever being diagnosed.”
If you are concerned about your risk of developing type two diabetes, visit https://riskscore.diabetes.org.uk/start.