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Saturday, 04 July 2015

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Barrow targeted by diabetes drive

OVER 20,000 people in Cumbria have been diagnosed with diabetes – and it is thought that a further 11,000 have the condition without being aware of it.

But 60 per cent of type 2 diabetes cases could be prevented by a few simple lifestyle changes.

The Diabetes UK Healthy Lifestyle Roadshow will visit Barrow next week, providing general information about type 2 diabetes, highlighting the risk factors and giving advice on how to prevent the condition.

Trained Diabetes UK staff will offer passers-by a free type 2 diabetes risk assessment, to determine their risk of developing the condition in the next 10 years. If this risk is moderate to high, people will be referred to their GP for further advice or tests.

Park leisure centre staff will also be on hand to offer guidance on healthy living and, specifically, the benefits of physical activity and diet.

“The best solution is to make any lifestyle changes before serious damage is done, and thus prevent the onset of diabetes,” explains Ian Jones, health and fitness officer at the leisure centre.

“With this in mind, we decided to link up with Diabetes UK to try to raise awareness, and provide a possible solution to this ongoing problem.”

Diabetes is one of the most common conditions affecting people in the UK, and is more likely to lead to devastating complications such as heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, blindness and amputation if it is not diagnosed early enough or is left untreated.

You could be at risk if you are overweight or having a large waist, are aged over 40 (or over 25 if you are black or South Asian) and have a close relative with diabetes.

At-risk waist measurements are 37 inches or more for men, except those of South Asian origin who are at risk at 35 inches or more, and 31.5 inches or more for all women.

Dr Robert Westgate, the GP lead for diabetes in Cumbria, said: “It’s fantastic news that Diabetes UK have decided to focus so much activity in Cumbria to raise awareness of the condition, its symptoms and the risk factors for developing diabetes.

“Cumbria Diabetes has already established structured education within the county for people with diabetes and is also working with GPs to improve support for self management.

“In addition, we have just commenced a new structured education programme, ‘Walking away from Diabetes’ which is designed to prevent people from developing type 2 diabetes if they are at high risk of doing so.

“This campaign will further help people realise that diabetes is a serious condition which we must work together in tackling in order to reduce the risk of complications and improve wellbeing.”

Unlike type 1 diabetes, where signs and symptoms are usually very obvious and appear very quickly, type 2 diabetes develops slowly over a period of years, with signs and symptoms often being missed.

Julie Byron, north west regional manager for Diabetes UK, said: “Diabetes is one of the biggest health challenges facing us today. There are 850,000 people at risk of developing the condition in England.

“But what is more frightening is that there are around 11,000 people in Cumbria alone that have type 2 diabetes but have no idea they do. I would urge everyone who can to visit Diabetes UK’s Healthy Lifestyle Roadshow. It could be the best thing you ever do for your health.”

Diabetes UK and MEND (Mind, Exercise, Nutrition... Do it!) have been awarded £413,722 from the Big Lottery Fund to support 70 roadshows in England during 2011 and 2012.

The Diabetes Roadshow will be in the square between the Town Hall and The Forum from 9am to 5pm next Thursday and Friday.

Anyone unable to attend the roadshow can still assess their risk of diabetes by taking the free Diabetes UK Risk Score test online at www.diabetes.org.uk/roadshow/riskscore1. Anybody found to be at moderate or high risk of developing the condition after taking the test should visit their GP.


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