Over 3,000 Gloucestershire people tackle diabetes through positive lifestyle changes

Dr Shabari Hosur, GP and Clinical Lead for the National Diabetes Prevention Programme in Gloucestershire, reflects on the positive impact the programme is having in the county, with over 3,000 people now signed up to take part.

“Over 34,000 people in Gloucestershire are living with Type 2 diabetes and sadly, many people will experience potentially preventable complications such as heart disease, kidney failure or stroke simply because they don’t know enough about their condition and how to manage it.

Type 2 diabetes is a chronic medical condition which affects the entire body, and can have a major impact on people and their families. It is one of the fastest growing healthcare issues in the UK and tackling it is one of the biggest health-related challenges of our time. However, it is preventable in around 90% of cases.

This is where the National Diabetes Prevention Programme is beneficial, as it helps people at risk of Type 2 diabetes to understand how small changes can prevent diabetes from developing in the first place.

Thanks to the NHS England funded Healthier You programme, individuals who have been identified by their GP surgery as having high blood sugar levels are now being routinely tested for pre-diabetes.

Pre-diabetes is a serious health condition where blood sugar levels are higher than normal, but not high enough yet to be diagnosed as diabetes. In 2018, approximately 16,337 people in the county were identified as being pre-diabetic.

The good news is that it’s reversible, and simple lifestyle changes such as eating healthier, losing weight and being more physically active can prevent or delay patients from developing Type 2 diabetes.

Over 3,000 people have now signed up to the Healthier You programme in Gloucestershire. This involves attending group sessions covering nutrition, exercise and suggested behavioural changes to help participants achieve and maintain a healthy weight and become more physically active.

One Gloucester resident who recently completed the programme commented on how pleased he was to have had the opportunity to do the course and sort out his sugar levels.

Like many others, he achieved his goals and his sugar levels are now manageable and back in the safe zone.

Gloucestershire was part of the second wave of a national rollout of the scheme. The initiative started in Gloucester City and Cheltenham and will be available across the whole county by summer 2019.

The impact of diabetes on the NHS is significant. Nationally, it costs the NHS £1.5m every single hour – around 10% of the entire NHS budget! And then of course there are further costs associated with absenteeism and early retirement due to diabetes complications.

I really encourage people at risk of developing Type 2 diabetes to join the programme, as it will support them step-by-step through simple lifestyle changes that will help them to change their future.”

Further information about the NDPP in Gloucestershire can be found at:

www.england.nhs.uk/diabetes/diabetes-prevention