Free healthy lifestyle workshops available to reduce the risk of Type 2 diabetes

If you are at risk of Type 2 diabetes you can now access free, healthy lifestyle workshops to help improve your health and reduce your chance of developing the illness.

  • 20 August 2020

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Anyone between the ages of 18 and 79 (who is not pregnant or already has diabetes) can use the free online Know Your Diabetes Risk tool to quickly assess your risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.

If you have a moderate to high risk you will be invited to refer yourself for a free, local diabetes prevention programme provided by WW (formerly Weight Watchers) which provides healthy lifestyle support via virtual groups and one-to-one sessions.

Clinical lead for diabetes for Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire CCG, John Moore, said:

Given the current pandemic there has never been a better time for people with Type 2 diabetes and those at risk of developing diabetes to aim for a healthy lifestyle and best diabetes management. Evidence from the pandemic is showing us that people who improve their diabetes management and people who have lost excess weight before catching Covid-19 seem to fair better.

This new online tool is a great opportunity to assess whether you are at risk of Type 2 diabetes and to take advantage of local sessions to help you manage your weight and other actions to lower your risk. I would encourage everyone to log on and find out what their score is.

More people than ever have and are at risk of Type 2 diabetes. If nothing changes, more than five million people will have diabetes in the UK by 2025.

There are two main types of diabetes – Type 1 and Type 2, both of which affect the body’s ability to regulate glucose (sugar) in the blood and can cause symptoms such as feeling very thirsty, needing to go to the toilet to urinate more often and feeling very tired (sometimes with Type 1 diabetes people also notice getting thinner with weight loss before diagnosis).

Around 90% of people who have diabetes have Type 2, which can develop over years and is often linked to carrying extra weight, particularly around the middle. Developing Type 1 diabetes is not linked to lifestyle and can often come on suddenly and in childhood – so the symptoms - described by Diabetes UK as the 4Ts – Tired, Thirsty, Toilet and Thinner - should mean don’t delay getting a blood glucose test particularly if this happens in a child. A new diagnosis of Type 1 diabetes needs urgent treatment.

Both types of diabetes are serious - some people with Type 2 diabetes can effectively manage their condition with care about what they eat and drink and how active they are, but everyone with Type 1 diabetes, and most with Type 2, will need medication as well as a healthy lifestyle to keep on top of the condition.

The Know Your Diabetes Risk assessment will ask you a series of questions including your age, sex, ethnicity, family history of diabetes, waist measurement, weight and height. The tool, which has been launched in partnership with charity Diabetes UK also includes more information on risk factors and signs of diabetes as well as tips and recipes.

Signs of Type 2 diabetes include

  • Tired: Feeling tried more than usual
  • Thirsty: Feeling really thirsty
  • Toilet: Going to the toilet to pee more frequently (new onset bed-wetting in a child)
  • Thinner: Particularly in Type 1 diabetes losing weight without trying (often gaining weight can be the factor that drives people to Type 2 diabetes)

Other symptoms can include

  • Fungal infections causing genital itching or thrush
  • Bacterial Infections
  • Cuts and wounds taking longer to heal
  • Blurred vision

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