Healthy bid to fight diabetes

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More than 13,000 Luton people with Type 2 diabetes will benefit from the world’s first diabetes prevention programme (NDPP) which will be rolled out in the town this month.

The “Healthier You” service will support people at high risk of diabetes to follow healthier lifestyles and reduce their likelihood of developing the condition. People will be offered referral to the service by their GP practice if they are found to have raised blood sugar levels but do not yet have diabetes.

Luton Clinical Commissioning Group (LCCG) is working with Ingeus to deliver “Healthier You”. This is funded by NHS England until at least March 2019. Participants will be invited to attend 13 educational group sessions where they are supported to make lifestyle changes that are proven to significantly reduce their chances of developing diabetes.

Dr Chirag Bakhai, diabetes lead at LCCG said: “The response from our GP practices in Luton has been phenomenal. We are all really excited to be offering this new programme in Luton for diabetes prevention.

“The effects of diabetes can be devastating, with potential complications of blindness, kidney disease, heart disease and even amputations. Simple changes like getting more active, losing weight and adopting a healthy diet can mean avoiding diabetes altogether”.

“It’s great that NHS England is investing in diabetes prevention and making it a national priority. The trends are worrying with more and more people becoming diabetic.

“Programmes like “Healthier You” which encourage people to stay healthy through making small, lasting changes and taking responsibility for their own health are really important. These lifestyle changes don’t need to cost anything and don’t have any side effects”.

Those referred will get tailored, personalised help to reduce their risk of Type 2 diabetes including education on healthy eating and lifestyle, help to lose weight and bespoke physical activity programmes, all of which have been proven to reduce the risk of developing the disease.

Type 2 diabetes in England accounts for approximately 90% of all diabetes cases and is the world’s most common long term health condition. It is largely preventable through lifestyle changes but 220,000 new diagnoses are made nationally every year and treatment costs the NHS nearly £10 billion of its budget.

GP practices in Luton have made hundreds of referrals since May and the first courses are planned to run from June at multiple venues in Luton.

Although “Healthier You” is only for people found to have high risk of developing diabetes on a blood test, there are other free services available for Luton residents to help with weight loss, improving diet and getting active.

A Free NHS Health Check can be taken if you are aged 40-74 without a pre-existing condition. These assess your diabetes risk, cholesterol levels and overall risk of cardiovascular disease.

Speak to your GP if you are concerned about your diabetes risk or call Livewell Luton on 01582 757 635 for more information.