People across Lincolnshire are being urged to learn more about the risks of diabetes during a prevention week later this month.
Diabetes Prevention Week runs from April 16 to 22 and aims to make members of the public more aware of the risks of Type 2 diabetes.
In Lincolnshire, 50,000 people are living with diabetes, which is roughly eight per cent of the population.
Health specialists also hope to educate people about the NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme (NDPP) during the week.
Nikki Pepper, Diabetes Prevention Project Officer in Lincolnshire, said: “Type 2 diabetes is often linked to lifestyle. It represents a real threat to health and if untreated it can lead to stroke, blindness, heart disease, kidney failure and lower limb amputation.
“Even if you are at high risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, it can still be prevented by losing weight, eating healthily and being more active.
“You can help to prevent Type 2 diabetes by making small, simple lifestyle changes such as not taking sugar in your tea or coffee, walking to the shop instead of driving and eating brown bread instead of white bread.
“With over 7,600 patients now referred within Greater Lincolnshire, the National Diabetes Prevention Programme is a nine month programme for those patients at risk of developing diabetes.
“The programme provides personalised help to reduce your risk of developing Type 2 diabetes through improved food choices, weight loss and
“Your GP practice is able to refer you to the programme if your blood sugar reading is within the eligible range.
“It is free to attend and programmes are running locally to where you live.”
Lincolnshire CCGs are also working with Lincolnshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust on a pilot project which will support people suffering with diabetes to manage the impact the long term illness can have on their mental health.
Georgia Evans, 61, from Stamford, has recently been attending the Bourne group as part of the NDPP. She said it has helped her be more motivated to make lifestyle changes.
“Diabetes runs in my family so I was considered to be high risk.
“I also have a thyroid condition so was regularly monitored through my GP surgery which kept a close eye on my blood sugar levels. When they continued to increase I was told that I would be eligible to join the National Diabetes Prevention Programme and decided to join.
“The group is lovely and sociable. The tea breaks provide an opportunity to speak to others.
“I have learnt more about the food that I eat. I have reduced my carbohydrates intake and am more conscious about the sugar that I eat.
“I feel a lot better and would definitely recommend the course.”
Charles O’Connor, 65, from Bourne also attends the Diabetes Prevention Programme group in the town.
He said: “I have put weight on over the last two and a half years as I had a physical job before I retired and now I am not as active.
“Since being on the course, I have lost 16 pounds in seven weeks, mainly from eating low carbs and exercising more. I try to cycle or walk whenever possible.
“I feel better as well. I’ve got a pair of trousers I’m aiming to get back into, so I’ll be alright if I do that.”
A series of events are being held across Lincolnshire during Diabetes Prevention Week to raise awareness of Type 2 diabetes and the National Diabetes Prevention Programme.
These are being held on the following dates:
Monday, April 16 11.30am to 6.30pm at Tesco, 65 Northgate, Sleaford, NG34 7BB
Tuesday, April 17 11.30am to 6.30pm at Gainsborough Tesco, Trinity Street, Gainsborough DN21 2HA
Tuesday, April 17 11.30am to 6.30pm at Waitrose, West Street, Stamford PE9 2PR
Wednesday, April 18 11.30am to 6.30pm at Tesco, Canwick Road, Lincoln LN5 8HS
Thursday, April 19 10.00 am to 4.00 pm at Mablethorpe Co-op, Seacroft Road, Mablethorpe LN12 2DU (Blood sugar readings are being taken)
Friday, April 20 10.00 am to 4.00 pm at Hildreds Centre, Briar Way, Skegness, PE25 3NR
Saturday, April 21 1pm to 4pm Living with Diabetes event at New Life Centre, Mareham Lane, Sleaford, NG34 7JP
To get an estimate of your risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, visit https://riskscore.diabetes.org.uk/start
Find out more about the NDPP at www.england.nhs.uk/ndpp or ask a member of your GP practice team