Can diabetes be prevented?
Many cases of type 2 diabetes can be prevented by making lots of small changes to your diet and lifestyle. A record number of people in the UK are living with type 2 diabetes and this figure is only set to increase. This means that many more people will experience the complications associated with diabetes which can have serious impacts on your health.
If you are at risk of developing type 2 diabetes, the good news is that by learning more about it, and implementing small changes to your diet and lifestyle, you can prevent it occurring in the first place.
Am I at risk?
About 90% of people that have diabetes have type 2. Normally it occurs in people over the age of 40 but there are some cases of younger people developing it. It generally develops slowly so you may not notice any symptoms of it, or there may be no symptoms at all. This is why it is really important to know your risk for developing type 2 so you can take action to prevent it from occurring. The following are established risk factors for developing type 2:
- You are overweight, in particular if you carry weight around your middle.
- If you have high blood pressure
- If you have a parent, sibling or child with diabetes
- It’s 2-4 times more prevalent in people of South Asian descent and African-Caribbean or Black African descent, and may occur at a younger age (e.g. over 25)
To calculate your own risk of developing type 2 diabetes then please click the know your risk icon below:
I’m at risk, what can I do?
Knowing that you are at risk is the first step towards preventing type 2 diabetes, and the good news is that making small changes to your diet and lifestyle will help reduce risk considerably. The 3 areas where you can make these changes are:
- Losing weight
- Increasing physical activity
- Improving your diet
The NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme
The Diabetes Prevention Programme is a joint commitment from NHS England, Public Health England and Diabetes UK, to identify those at high risk of developing type 2 diabetes and refers them onto a behaviour change programme. If you are interested in getting involved in your local scheme then please contact your GP.
There is also a pilot of a digital scheme for this programme, you can find out more about this by clicking here.