People in Devon are being offered free help to combat the threat of diabetes as new figures reveal more than 700 people had a limb amputated because of the disease.
This week (1-7 April 2019) is National Diabetes Prevention Week and anyone in Devon who is worried they could be at risk of Type 2 diabetes is being encouraged to use an online checking tool developed by charity Diabetes UK.
Hospital data shows there were 704 diabetes-related lower-limb amputations in the three years between April 2015 and March 2018 in Devon.
And there are around 79,000 people in the county at risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.
As well as using the online tool, people who think they may be at risk of Type 2 diabetes can get a free NHS health check, covering Type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and other conditions (available for those aged 40 to 74), or ask their GP or practice nurse to check if they are at risk, and potentially be referred to a local prevention programme.
Devon has previously won national funding to provide evidence-based programmes that help people reduce their chances of developing Type 2 diabetes – and hundreds of people are already
Doctors can refer eligible at-risk patients for a free place on a specialised prevention programme provided by Living Well Taking Control, a consortium led by Devon-based charity Westbank.
Sian Derrick, Diabetes Programme Nutritionist at Living Well Taking Control, said: “The programme offers an opportunity for participants to learn about how to reduce their risk of type 2 diabetes through interactive discussions in a relaxed community environment.
“Discussions cover healthy eating, including food labelling, portion sizes and eating out; physical activity and positive mental health and wellbeing.
“There is strong evidence that the onset of Type 2 diabetes can be prevented or delayed in those at high risk, through improved quality of diet, increase in physical activity, and successful weight loss.
“If you’re worried, take action now.”
Type 2 diabetes can cause personal suffering through its complications – it is a leading cause of sight loss, lower limb amputation and kidney failure, and can contribute to heart attack and stroke. Diabetes and its complications cost the NHS over £10 billion every year to treat and one in six patients in hospital now has diabetes.
The likelihood of developing diabetes increases for people who are overweight, over 40 years of age or have someone in their family who has diabetes.
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