Retired police officer Peter Stevens is just one of the 79,000 people at risk of developing diabetes in East Sussex. But thanks to a diabetes prevention programme the Eastbourne resident has a new lease of life.
The 79 year old was struggling with shortness of breath and numbness in his feet. His GP detected high sugar levels in his blood, advised him to make some lifestyle changes and referred him to the local Healthier You: NHS Diabetes Prevention programme.
In the first five weeks of the programme Peter lost almost a stone in weight and lowered his cholesterol level. His wife Cynthia was also referred to the programme. Together the couple regularly attend sessions near their home which look at the causes and remedies of Type 2 diabetes, encourages patients to achieve a healthy weight, be physically active and eat a balanced diet.
“It’s great to attend the group together. We can encourage and support each other at home and between us we have no excuse for forgetting any details. Being with other patients in the group also generates a bit of competitive spirit so its good fun to go each time and see how we are all progressing.”
Peter, a keen rugby player in his younger days, added:
“Making quite minimal lifestyle changes like eating fruit instead of cakes and biscuits and taking regular short walks, delivers significant results. It’s a small price to pay to avoid the danger of becoming diabetic.”
Type 2 diabetes can lead to other serious conditions including strokes, heart disease, limb amputation and early death. Around 9 out of 10 people with diabetes have Type 2 which is closely linked to obesity and yet is largely preventable by making simple lifestyle changes around diet, activity levels and weight management.
GPs and other healthcare professionals are using Diabetes Prevention Week, which falls from 16 to 22 April, to urge East Sussex residents to find out if they are at risk and take action to improve their future health.
You can check your type 2 diabetes risk score at diabetes.org.uk/risk.