NHS encourages black communities to know their risk of developing Type 2 diabetes

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The NHS is encouraging people from black communities to find out if they are at high risk of developing Type 2 diabetes through using the ‘Know Your Risk’ tool hosted by Diabetes UK. The push comes as data reveals that diabetes has been found in nearly one-third of people who have passed away as a result of coronavirus. 

Anyone at high risk of developing Type 2 diabetes may be eligible to join their local Healthier You NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme, a joint initiative from NHS England and NHS Improvement, Public Health England and Diabetes UK. The programme supports people to make positive changes to their diet, weight and the amount of physical activity they do – to significantly reduce the risk of developing this disease. 

The call outcomes as we are reminded that black populations are three times more likely to develop Type 2 diabetes than white populations and that if diagnosed, it can lead to blindness, kidney failure, loss of a limb and it also increases the risk of heart attack or stroke.

Mabel Oikelome from Leeds has completed the Healthier You NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme. Talking about her experience, Mabel says: “The Knowledge I gained from the programme is priceless; I’ve learnt so much about how my body works and how the choices I make can affect it. For example, I understand the importance of checking food labels before I pick up products at the supermarket and I appreciate the importance of physical activity – but I also understand that this can be simply doing more housework or going for a brisk walk over and above joining a gym.”

Mabel continues: “I feel healthier, more energised. I see life in another light. That’s the gift that the programme can give you.”

Type 2 diabetes risk factors:

  • Your age. The older you are, the more at risk you are
  • Your family history. You’re two to six times more likely to get Type 2 diabetes if you have a parent, brother, sister or child with diabetes
  • Your ethnic background. You’re more likely to get Type 2 diabetes if you are from a Chinese, South Asian, Black Caribbean or Black African ethnic background
  • Your weight. You’re more at risk if you’re overweight
  • Your blood pressure. You’re more at risk if you’ve ever had high blood pressure

Dr Sandra Isibor, a GP from Nottingham said: “I see many people in my day to day role whose lives have been severely impacted by Type 2 diabetes. What’s important to remember is that whilst it is more prevalent in black communities, it is not definite you will develop the disease. If you are at risk, the Healthier You NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme can support you to make lifestyle changes such as increasing the amount of physical activity you do or adjusting your diet to reduce your risk of developing this very serious health condition. The first thing you need to do is find out your risk score. Do it for yourself and also, do it for the people who care about you.”

The NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme has continued through the pandemic via video calls and is also available digitally using websites and apps.

To find out your risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, visit: www.diabetes.org.uk/knowyourrisk. 

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