Know your diabetes risk
By Dr Niruban Ratnarajah
Type 2 diabetes affects millions of people in the UK and around the world.
If untreated, it can lead to serious health complications – and people with diabetes are also at a greater risk of heart disease or stroke.
Prevention is better than cure, and the good news is that you can take simple steps to reduce your risk of developing the condition - a message which is being shared during Type 2 Diabetes Prevention Week, which runs from May 23–29.
There are two main types of diabetes, which is a condition that causes a person’s blood sugar level to become too high.
Type 1 diabetes is not linked with age or being overweight, and there is currently nothing that can be done to prevent it. People with the condition need to take insulin to control their blood sugar levels.
The vast majority of people with diabetes, however, have Type 2 diabetes. Anyone can develop this, but certain factors increase your risk.
These include being overweight or inactive: so, as with so many other health conditions, eating a healthy balanced diet and exercising more can cut your risk of becoming diabetic.
You are also more at risk of developing diabetes as you get older, or if you have a parent, brother or sister with the condition.
And there are genetic factors too. People from Black Caribbean, Black African and South Asian backgrounds are more likely to develop diabetes - and from a younger age.
Type 2 diabetes can come on slowly, which is why Diabetes UK is urging people to answer a few simple questions online to know yor risk.
More than two million people have already done this and you could be eligible for the Healthier You NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme. It only takes a couple of minutes but it could be the most important thing you do today!
Health Improvement Practitioners work in Bolton’s practices to support patients who are at risk of developing diabetes, helping them to make healthy lifestyle changes. If you are identified as being at risk, it’s important that you attend your annual blood test so we can catch the disease early – or even reserve it.
Find out more about diabetes on the Diabetes UK website.
The NHS in Greater Manchester is asking people with diabetes to complete a survey to help improve the support it provides:
People with Type 2 diabetes, their carers and family, and health professionals can also register for a free online course.