Today is World Diabetes Day. More than 4.9 million people in the UK have diabetes, someone is diagnosed with diabetes every two minutes and more people are at risk of type 2 diabetes than ever before.
Obesity and an inactive lifestyle are two of the most common causes of type 2 diabetes, but the main risks include age, ethnicity, and family and medical history.
If left untreated, diabetes will get progressively worse. So being diagnosed as early as possible is crucial for all types of diabetes. It can save lives, prevent medical emergencies, and reduce the risk of complications later.
Many more people have blood sugar levels above the normal range but not high enough to be diagnosed with diabetes – sometimes known as pre-diabetes. When the blood sugar level is above the normal range, the risk of developing full-blown diabetes increases. If nothing changes, Diabetes UK predicts that 5.5 million people will have diabetes in the UK by 2030.
Diabetes: key facts and figures
- 6 million people are now at increased risk of type 2 diabetes in the UK.
- You are more at risk of type 2 diabetes if you have a close family member who has diabetes.
- 850,000 people are currently living with type 2 diabetes but are yet to be diagnosed.
- Research has consistently shown that for some people, combined lifestyle interventions – including diet, physical activity and sustained weight loss – can be effective in reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes by about 50%.
- Knowing your HbA1c level and what you can do to lower it will help reduce your risk of severe complications. (A high HbA1c means you have too much sugar in your blood and therefore more likely to develop diabetes complications).
Nicola Marchant, Health Coach at Shakespeare Medical Practice, and Adele England, Social Prescriber at The Light Surgery, discuss the importance of exercise and share a few healthy recommendations for patients to manage type 2 diabetes.
“When I see patients with a blood test showing a raised Hba1c level, it’s a good opportunity to ask them how are they doing and feeling in each area of their life, like physical health, relationships, recreation and finances,” said Nicola.
Having a Health Coach like Nicola, who knows you well and can offer guidance on a healthy lifestyle and wellbeing is one way for health professionals to help patients reduce their risk of type 2 diabetes. “I offer tips to support patients, such as taking a daily walk, understanding portion sizes, keeping a food diary, and watching alcohol and processed food intake. Knowledge is power, and I try and educate all my patients to improve their lifestyles and, in turn, improve their health. ”
Nicola Marchant, Health Coach: “Knowledge is power, and I try to educate all my patients to improve their lifestyles.”
“There are several courses and programmes for diabetes through the NHS England we refer that patients can attend. We refer patients if they are pre-diabetic, and we will then contact them. We work alongside patients throughout the process, whilst the programmes allow them to meet other people in similar positions.”
You can find out more about the NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme here.
What programmes are available?
- DAFNE: for people with Type 1 diabetes, both newly diagnosed and established
- DESMOND: for people with Type 2 diabetes, both newly diagnosed and established
- DESMOND BME: a culturally specific programme for people with Type 2 diabetes from South Asian communities, both newly diagnosed and established.
Adele England, Social Prescriber: “Social prescribing helps people to have a choice and control.”
“Social Prescribing is all about tailoring a Personalised Care Plan to meet the needs of the individual. This means people have choice and control over how their care is planned and delivered. It is based on what matters to them, as well as their strengths and needs. In promoting exercise and physical activity to help with type 2 diabetes, my patients are fully involved in designing any activity ‘programme’ that is unique to them. In this way, the patient is more likely to be motivated.”
“So why not do some easy exercise or stretch before you leave the house, take the stairs instead of the lift, go for a walk at lunchtime or get off the bus one stop earlier than your usual journey.”
Our clinical experts at OneMedical Group are here to support their patients manage all types of diabetes. They encourage patients to attend all appointments with the GP team to make sure their diabetes is being managed. Working closely with our teams of specialists will ensure patients will learn more about their long-term health condition and take control of their health whilst receiving the care they need to thrive.
For the source of key facts about diabetes, to learn more about all types and risks and get involved in World Diabetes Day 2022, please visit diabetes.org.uk.