Around 27,500 Staffordshire patients who are at risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes are being urged to make changes to their lifestyle to reverse that risk during Diabetes Prevention Week.
Around six per cent of Staffordshire’s population already has a diagnosis of type 2 diabetes with the number growing year-on-year.
But many of those identified at being at risk of diabetes can take action that could mean they never become diabetic.
The estimated cost to the local NHS of treating diabetes in 2015 was £222 million. This is estimated to rise to £273 million by 2020 if trends go unaddressed, meaning that costs of treating a largely preventable condition are rising by roughly £10 million per year.
According to Diabetes UK, being at risk of diabetes is characterised by the presence of blood glucose levels that are higher than normal but not yet high enough to be classed as diabetes. Those at greater risk are often aged over 45, overweight, and do little physical exercise.
Dr Bhushun Rao is the Clinical Lead for diabetes throughout Staffordshire including Stoke-on-Trent.
Dr Rao said: “The good news is that patients identified as being at risk of diabetes can be helped to prevent themselves from developing full blown diabetes. The risk can be reversed if identified early, does not need medication and prevention is always the best route to take. Lifestyle changes that include improving diet, quitting smoking, reducing alcohol intake, exercising regularly, and losing weight all play a part.”
“We are now developing programmes specifically aimed at the estimated 27,500 Staffordshire patients with pre-diabetes. It can help them avoid diabetes and the complications associated with it which include heart, stroke, kidney, eye and foot problems.
“The NHS is also facing rapidly rising costs associated with a largely preventable condition. This is money that could be spent on other priorities. With the cost of diabetes estimated to be rising by almost £10 million per year in Staffordshire alone prevention can make a huge difference to all patients.”
You can find out more about the risk of developing type 2 diabetes at www.diabetes.org.uk/risk.