The increasing number of people with Type 2 diabetes challenges the NHS, not just in Cheshire and Merseyside, but across the country.
The facts speak for themselves. It can cause personal suffering through its complications – it is a leading cause of sight loss and lower limb amputation, and can contribute to kidney failure, heart attack and stroke. Diabetes and its complications carry huge costs for the NHS and one in six patients in hospital now has diabetes.
Around nine out of 10 people with diabetes have Type 2 diabetes and there is strong evidence that its onset can be prevented or delayed in those at high risk through improved quality of diet, an increase in physical activity, and successful weight loss.
Wherever possible, prevention is preferable to cure and as a result, our Partnership is reaching people who are at risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. The Diabetes Prevention Programme helps people at high risk of developing Type 2 diabetes reduce that risk and potentially avoid diabetes by getting face to face support.
The lead for this programme is Sarah O'Brien, Chief Officer of NHS St Helen's CCG.
Pamela Hancock from Cheshire has multiple long-term conditions and was solely using a wheelchair when she was referred onto the Healthier You: NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme by her GP six months ago. Now, she not only has more mobility but her outlook on life is much more positive too.
“I was really low when I was referred onto the programme and thought a future of wheelchairs and walking aids was inevitable,” she said. “But, with the support of my family, I was prepared to do whatever it took to get my life back. I was determined not to develop type 2 diabetes on top of my other conditions.
“The Healthier You programme has given me hope. I’ve lost weight, improved my mobility and feel much better in myself. I feel like I’m fighting a winning battle again – not a losing one.”
Sara Daniels, 46, tragically lost her younger brother to a diabetic related illness. She was referred onto the ‘Healthier You: National Diabetes Prevention Programme’ when her GP informed her that she was also at risk of developing the condition.
Since joining the programme 12 months ago, Sara, has dropped over 1 ½ stones in weight, lost 10 centimetres from her waistline and is enjoying an increase in energy levels.
Sara, a Sefton resident living in Litherland, said: “I feel so much more positive and now have energy to take my daughter to the local parks and beaches. After losing my brother to the condition and seeing my dad struggle with the side effects of Type 2 diabetes, I was shocked when my GP told me that I was also at risk.” When asked about advice for anyone considering joining the programme, Sara said, “I’d urge anyone identified as being at risk of developing the condition to join the programme, there really is nothing to lose and the benefits really can be life changing.”
It is estimated that nearly 200,000 people in the region are currently at risk of developing type 2 diabetes; which can lead to other serious conditions including strokes, heart disease, limb amputation and early death.