Diabetes prevention programme in Sussex aims to help people at risk of developing the condition

  • Charlotte Wilkins has been to a diabetes prevention programme in Sussex.

NHS figures released today show the number of people living with type 2 diabetes is on the rise. A Diabetes Prevention Programme in Sussex, available through a referral from your GP for people at risk of developing the condition, has already seen thousands using the service.

NHS Sussex, Diabetes Clinical Lead, Dr Bindoh Chathanath Bhaskaran said: "Diabetes is serious."

"If your blood glucose levels, which are not controlled correctly, affects your big blood vessels, then you're at risk of a heart attack, stroke, or affecting your circulation - which is called peripheral vascular disease.

"These can increase the risk of you becoming unwell and even increase the chances of death."

  • NHS Sussex Diabetes Project Manager , Adam Finney says "If you think you could be at risk of diabetes, then speak to your GP to see if you are eligible."

What is non-diabetic hyperglycaemia or pre-diabetes?

In Sussex, 197,000 people, which is around 10% of the population, are living with non-diabetic hyperglycaemia, also known as pre-diabetes.

It means their blood sugar levels are above the normal range, but not high enough to be diagnosed with diabetes.

It also means they are at higher risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, which can cause loss of vision or kidney problems, as well as other even more complex health issues.

People with non-diabetic hyperglycaemia are recommended to have a blood test every year to monitor their blood sugar levels. Credit: ITV News Meridian

Early intervention work, including taking part in the Healthier You NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme, is now something that is available after a referral from the GP.

People can choose between a face-to-face group or a digital service. In the group, they receive personalised support to manage their weight, eat more healthily and be more physically active.

The digital service uses tools such as wearable technologies that monitor levels of exercise, apps where users can access health coaches, online peer support groups and the ability to set and monitor goals electronically.

For people completing the diabetes prevention programme, it has found it cuts the risk of developing type 2 diabetes by more than a third. Credit: ITV News Meridian

Health and wellbeing coach, James Belbin said: “We try and break down the guidance given by NHS England in three areas, 3 pillars. Eating well, moving more and taking charge.

"Each week we will break them down to help people make a positive lifestyle change."

  • One of the people taking part is Nicola Barnikel

Nicola Barnikel said: "6 years ago I was 5 stone lighter. I put weight on while I've been caring for my parents, who both had Dementia.

"It has been an incredibly stressful few years and it’s resulted in me not looking after myself as much. "

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