Cumbria leads the way in reducing diabetes risk

05/07/2012

People in Cumbria have reduced their risk of developing Type 2 diabetes thanks to a new programme, which is the first of its kind in the north of England.

‘Walking Away from Diabetes', provided by Cumbria Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, is a three hour programme designed to reduce the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. The programme has been shown to demonstrate a 30-60% reduction in the risk of progression to Type 2 diabetes in high risk individuals.

Despite having only been run for a few months the course has had a huge impact on the lives of many, including Gillian Whitaker, 49, who was at high risk of developing diabetes.

Gillian attended the course last month. She explains:

"I was very nervous at first as I did not know anyone there. But everyone was really friendly, and it was a small group - only 8-10 people. Cumbria Diabetes provided lots of interesting and useful information. However, there were moments that I found quite scary as before I went I was quite complacent about diabetes. I didn't really think it was that bad. However the course highlighted some of the effects of diabetes - and I realised it was far more serious than I thought.

I didn't realise how much of a couch potato I had become - I would just collapse after a day at work. But now, by moving about more during the day, I feel so much more active. I have also lost a little weight!

Emotionally I feel better too. I feel empowered and in control now. It's up to me to prevent diabetes and I know I can do it. It is a wonderful feeling. I would definitely recommend the course to people who are at risk."

Cumbria Diabetes, provided by Cumbria Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, will be at a Diabetes UK event in Carlisle on Wednesday 11th July in Carlisle to raise awareness of the ‘Walking Away' course. Dr Robert Westgate, GP Lead for Cumbria Diabetes, will be there to explain how people can take steps to reduce the risk of developing diabetes and how diabetics can take steps to effectively manage their condition.

Dr Westgate said:

"These events provide a great opportunity to raise awareness of diabetes and talk to local people about the best ways to prevent and manage Type 2 Diabetes. The new ‘Walking Away' course provides an effective offering towards preventing Type 2 Diabetes. This evidence based programme helps people to understand more about their health and enables behaviour change, to reduce their risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes.

In addition to the new ‘Walking Away' course, diabetes services in Cumbria are also leading the way in improving and promoting support for self-management via both structured education, and providing individualised care through a collaborative care planning approach."

Content covered on the ‘Walking Away' course is as follows:

- Thoughts and feelings of participants

- Understanding more about diabetes and blood glucose

- How being at risk can affect long term health

- Understand what factors contribute to being at risk

- Reducing risk, physical activity and healthy eating

- Planning for the future

If you feel as though you would benefit from ‘Walking Away from Diabetes' please visit one of the roadshows, visit your GP or contact Cumbria Diabetes on 01229 403535.

You can self-assess your risk of developing diabetes using a score sheet available here: http://www.cumbriapartnership.nhs.uk/walking-away-from-diabetes.htm. If your results show you are at high risk, or you have any concerns, visit your GP.

Below are five top tips for managing the risk of diabetes:

1. Get active - getting fit and losing weight (if you are currently overweight) can reduce the risk of developing diabetes. Adults should aim to do at least two and a half hours exercise a week.

2. Stop smoking - smoking can increase cholesterol, blood pressure and blood glucose levels, all of which can increase the risk of diabetes and make it hard to manage the symptoms if you do develop the condition. For help quitting smoking call the Cumbria NHS Stop Smoking Service on 01900 324222 or text ‘QUIT' to 82540.

3. Eat a healthy diet - eating a healthy, balanced diet is essential. You don't have to cut out all the things you enjoy; eating healthily is about moderation. Eat less sugar and fatty foods, and try to include at least five portions of fruit and vegetables in your diet.

4. Drink sensibly - There's no need to give up alcohol completely if you have diabetes, but drinking sensibly will help manage the risks. It is recommended that you have no more than 2 units per day for women and 3 units per day for men.  For more information and to track your alcohol intake, visit www.nhs.uk/Livewell/alcohol.

5. Visit your GP -  if you have any concerns about your health, or you think you may be at a high risk of developing diabetes, visit your GP and they will be able to advise you how to reduce the risk.

  

ENDS

Notes for editors

Gillian will be attending the event on July 11th between 12pm and 1pm.

Cumbria Diabetes is one of the services provided by Cumbria Partnership NHS Foundation Trust.

This news release was issued by the Communications Department on behalf of Cumbria Partnership NHS Foundation Trust. Contact 01228 603890 or email communications.helpdesk@cumbria.nhs.uk

More information about diabetes can be found here: http://www.cumbriapartnership.nhs.uk/api/condition/diabetes

Walking Away from Diabetes is programme designed to reduce the risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes.

The programme is especially suited for people with:

*             impaired glucose tolerance

*             impaired fasting glycaemia

*             a high diabetes risk score.

It is a three hour programme, developed within the NHS by DESMOND national programme. It is delivered to up to 10 people (who may be accompanied by a partner, family member or friend) by trained educators in a variety of community venues.

Cumbria Diabetes also offer structured education courses for people with both Type 1 diabetes and Type 2 diabetes.  Dose Adjustment For Normal  Eating is a week long course designed and delivered to people with Type 1 diabetes and focuses on being able to support the self management of diabetes via both diet and medication doses.  DESMOND - which stands for Diabetes Education and Self-Management for Ongoing and Newly Diagnosed -  is a one day course designed to enable people with type 2 diabetes to self manage their condition.  Every newly diagnosed person with type 2 diabetes is able to be referred to the programme by their GP.   For patients who have established Type 2 Diabetes, DESMOND Foundation is available and GP practices are encouraged to refer patients to the diabetes team.  All courses are delivered in venues throughout Cumbria. Other support services and programmes are available and if you feel you would benefit from any of the above please contact your GP, who will refer you to the service if appropriate.

 

CASE STUDY

Gillian Whitaker is 49 and lives in Carlisle. She attended the ‘Walking Away from Diabetes' course last month. She explains:

"I went to the doctor with an ear infection and was tested for diabetes as a result of this. After some blood tests I was told that I was borderline diabetic. The doctor said to me that I could literally "walk away from this" and I went onto the course.

I was very nervous at first as I did not know anyone there. But everyone was really friendly, and it was a small group - only 8-10 people. Cumbria Diabetes provided lots of interesting and useful information. However, there were moments that I found quite scary as before I went I was quite complacent about diabetes. I didn't really think it was that bad. However the course highlighted some of the effects of diabetes - and I realised it was far more serious than I thought.

I was also quite embarrassed - if I developed Type 2 diabetes it would be my fault. I decided I needed to get my act together and since being on the course I have made much more of an effort with my diet and tried to move around more.

I didn't realise how much of a couch potato I had become - I would just collapse after a day at work. But now, by moving about more during the day, I feel so much more active. I have also lost a little weight!

I haven't really made any big changes - just eating more fruit and veg and cutting out fizzy drinks. And instead of putting things aside at work to take upstairs, so I only have to make a couple of trips, I take everything upstairs as soon as I can. This means I am going up and down the stairs 6-12 times a day.

In the pack I received from the course there was a pedometer - which made me realise just how little I was moving. It has really encouraged me to be more active. A couple of people at work have noticed that my tops are a bit looser as well, which is a nice side effect!

Emotionally I feel better too. I feel empowered and in control now. It's up to me to prevent diabetes and I know I can do it. It is a wonderful feeling. I would definitely recommend the course to people who are at risk."

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