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Take control of your health this Diabetes Week

14 June 2021

This Diabetes Week (14 to 20 June), Richmond Council is calling for improved awareness of the health condition and a borough wide effort to better control it.

Diabetes is a long-term condition affecting children and adults. There are two types of diabetes; type 1 diabetes is where the body’s immune system attacks and destroys the cells that produce insulin which usually starts in childhood and type 2 diabetes is where the body does not produce enough insulin or react to insulin commonly starts in adulthood. Both types of diabetes lead to high blood sugar levels which can lead to serious health complications such as eyesight issues and increased chances of heart attacks, strokes and kidney problems.

It is thought 90% of adults with diabetes in the UK have type 2 diabetes. Increased awareness and having healthier lifestyles and behaviours can help manage type 2 diabetes and, in most instances, reduce the risk of getting the disease.

There are around 15,000 people living in Richmond upon Thames who are at high risk of getting type 2 diabetes.

Over the next few weeks, Richmond Council will be sharing information on diabetes on its social media channels with the aim of encouraging adults to take steps to understand their diabetes risk. These steps include:

  • Find out your risk by using the Diabetes UK Know Your Risk Score. It is a quick and easy online tool with seven simple questions. Within a few minutes you will know if you are at low, increased, moderate or high risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.
  • If at moderate or high risk (score of 16 and above), sign up to the free NHS Healthier You programme in Richmond – a personalised prevention programme that will reduce your risk of Type 2 diabetes by encouraging you to eat well, move more and lose weight (if needed). You should also visit your GP surgery for a follow-up blood test to check for diabetes.
  • If you have diabetes, managing and treating the disease is vital to avoiding serious health complications. If you have type 1 diabetes, this will involve taking insulin to control your blood sugar levels and counting the amount of carbohydrates you eat and drink. If you have type 2 diabetes, you may also need to take medication, but exercise and diet also become very important.
  • Know the signs and symptoms of diabetes and if there is any family history of diabetes.

If you have diabetes, good management and controlling blood sugar levels is vital to avoiding serious health complications.

Shannon Katiyo, Richmond Council’s Director of Public Health, said:

'The first step all adults over 40 should be taking with diabetes is to understand your risk of the condition. It takes a matter of minutes, and it could be the most important thing you do for your health. Take the test and share the test link with your loved ones so that they can also do the test.'

Cllr Piers Allen, Lead member for Adult Social Care and Health and Chair of the Richmond Health and Wellbeing Board, said:

'The pandemic has meant more of us are conscious and aware of the importance of looking after our health. We want to build on this behaviour during Diabetes Week and beyond so that residents are aware of their risk of the condition and continue to take preventative measures to improve and maintain their health. With a close family member with a history of diabetes, I can’t change that or my age, but I do now know the risk factors that I can change, and that even small changes can help reduce my risk of getting Type 2 diabetes in the next 10 years.'

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Up to: June 2021

Updated: 14 June 2021