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Raising awareness of the signs of diabetes on World Diabetes Day

Health chiefs are urging residents in Norfolk and Waveney to learn more about the symptoms of diabetes and what to look out for in a bid to help prevent more people developing the disease.

This Sunday 14 November is World Diabetes Day, which this year celebrates 100 years since the discovery of insulin whilst also aiming to shed light on the condition and its symptoms in order to encourage people to understand the risks and take action early.

More than 12 million people in the UK are at increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes – a lifelong condition that affects day-to-day wellbeing and poses a significant risk to health. Type 2 diabetes can lead to:

  • heart disease and stroke
  • nerve damage (loss of feeling and pain)
  • foot ulcers, infections and lower limb amputation
  • vision loss and blindness
  • miscarriage and stillbirth
  • reduced kidney function
  • sexual problems – like problems getting or keeping an erection

To help detect the early indicators of diabetes and prevent the disease, the Protect NoW team in Norfolk and Waveney is leading a primary care collaborative to help to identify people with risk factors that indicate they are more likely to develop Type 2 diabetes in the future. 

This proactive and innovative project that means local practices can pick up on early warning signs and offer people a referral into the NHS Healthier You Diabetes Prevention programme.  Early intervention and support from Healthier You coaches supports people to make the healthy lifestyle changes that can significantly cut their risk of developing diabetic disease (Type 2).

Dr Clare Hambling, the GP clinical lead for diabetes with Norfolk and Waveney CCG, said: “We want to raise awareness this World Diabetes Day about the fantastic efforts already underway across Norfolk and Waveney to tackle diabetes head on.

We now know that people living with Type 2 diabetes face a significantly higher risk of dying with COVID-19, so it’s more important than ever that we help prevent people from developing the disease.

Through our Protect NoW programme we are working to increase referrals of those who are at risk of developing Type 2 diabetes into the Healthier You NHS Diabetes Prevention programme before the disease develops. Type 2 diabetes can often be prevented or delayed by eating a healthy, balanced diet, maintaining a healthy weight and keeping physically active, but we know that some people need support to make these lifestyle changes and stay motivated.”

This World Diabetes Day, Diabetes UK is encouraging people to paint their fingernails blue on Sunday 14th to raise awareness of diabetes and help fund more life-changing research breakthroughs. Find out more about how to take part by visiting their NailingDiabetes fundraising page.

Diabetes UK has also developed a short video called Diabetes Symptoms – Signs of all types of Diabetes to help people recognise the signs of diabetes and raise awareness of the symptoms so people can get help early.

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Notes to Editors

  • There are 12.3 million people in the UK at increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
  • Some groups are at higher risk of developing Type 2 diabetes: men, people of South Asian or Black ethnicity, people who are overweight and people with a family history of Type 2 diabetes.
  • Protect NoW projects are fully compliant with national IG/GDPR criteria and operate with an extensive privacy impact assessment in place.
  • Covid Protect system is another example of one of the projects run locally by NHS Norfolk and Waveney CCG has been used as an exemplar of excellence in healthcare. (https://www.easternahsn.org/covid-protect-shielding-programme-yale/)
  • The public is encouraged to check their risk via the Diabetes UK Know Your Risk tool which can be found online at riskscore.diabetes.org.uk or by searching ‘Know Your Risk’. If your score comes back as ‘at risk’, you can sign up to your free local Healthier You programme via self-referral, or, if you think you or a family member may be at risk, speak to your GP practice about how to support them.
  • The Healthier You NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme is an evidence-based lifestyle change programme which helps people at high risk of Type 2 diabetes to reduce their risk through managing their weight, eating more healthily and being more physically active.
  • Patients are eligible for the programme if they are: aged over 18, not pregnant and registered with a GP practice. They can self-refer on to the programme if they score ‘moderate’ or ‘high’ on the Diabetes UK Know Your Risk tool. People with a previously raised blood glucose level may also be eligible.

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