Can Type 2 diabetes be prevented?
The good news is you can prevent or delay developing type 2 diabetes. If you maintain a healthy weight and are more active, the risk of developing diabetes is significantly reduced.
Who’s more at risk
You may be at risk of developing Type 2 diabetes if you’re:
- Overweight or obese
- Not physically active and spend long periods of time sitting
- A smoker or drink too much alcohol
- Over 40 and white, or over 25 and African-Caribbean, Black-African, Chinese or South Asian
- Family members have a history of diabetes, heart attack or stroke
- Blood pressure is high or has been high in the past
If you’re concerned that you may be at risk, it’s essential to be diagnosed as early as possible. Talk to your GP or practice nurse about your concerns and they may advise that you have a blood test to check if your blood glucose levels are higher than normal. If you are told that you are more at risk of developing type 2 diabetes, ask your GP practice to refer you to Healthier You to reduce your risk.
Alternatively, sign up to receive your free NHS Health Check. Find further information about Health Checks here
Healthier You NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme
If you are at risk of developing type 2 diabetes, you may be able to join the free NHS Healthier You Programme. Healthier You provides valuable support to help people, like you, learn how to prevent diabetes by incorporating healthier eating, physical activity, problem-solving, stress-reduction and coping skills into their daily lives. The free NHS programme explains the changes that can be easily incorporated into everyday routine and can significantly reduce the risk of diabetes-related health problems.
Healthier You is normally delivered in person. Right now, due to Covid restrictions, it’s offered through group-based telephone sessions or through video conference. There is also an online service that can be accessed through an app on your smartphone.
Getting referred onto Healthier You
People access Healthier You in the following ways:
- A GP or nurse referral
- A referral from a Health Check professional
- A self-referral by completing the online form
If you have already been referred onto the programme or received an invitation letter in the past but not taken up the offer of joining the programme it is not too late. Get in touch with your GP practice to let them know you would like to join the programme and they will refer you again to the service.
For more information you can contact your GP practice or your local Healthier You service provider ICS Health and Well Being by emailing the team at firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 0333 577 3010.
If you have found out you’re at high or medium risk from using the Diabetes UK Know Your Risk tool or have had blood test in the past 24 months that shows you may be at increased risk of developing diabetes you will be eligible to join the Programme.
Isobel recommends online classes that have reduced her risk of developing Type 2 diabetes
Isobel Brown joined Healthier You after being identified as being at risk of developing type 2 diabetes. For the last few months, due to social distancing restrictions, Isobel has been attending sessions online.
She said: “In July 2019 I was told that I was at high risk of developing type 2 diabetes and I was referred onto the Healthier You programme. My health coach Anna was very welcoming and super knowledgeable, and with the help of the programme, by Christmas 2019, I had significantly reduced my risk of type 2 diabetes. I’ve gone on to lose 8.2 kg in total and I feel so much healthier."
“During lockdown, I have found the remote workshops to be invaluable. I can talk openly about any issues or difficulties I may be experiencing during this strange time and I know my health coach Anna will come up with a brilliant idea to help me through them."
“I really don’t think I would be able to continue this journey without the help and support I get through the workshops."
“Health is the most important thing you have, and Healthier You will help you to maintain it. You will be at a lower risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease and many other associated conditions – it is a programme that I wholeheartedly recommend.”
Knowing you’re at risk is the first step towards preventing Type 2 diabetes.
You can find more information about risk factors for developing diabetes on the Diabetes UK website here where you will also find the Diabetes UK 'Know Your Risk' tool. It’s free and will only take a few moments to do. You will be prompted to answer a series of basic questions including age, weight and ethnicity.