Can Type 2 diabetes be prevented?
A record number of people in the UK are living with Type 2 diabetes and sadly this figure is only set to increase. This means that many more people will be at risk of the complications associated with diabetes which can have serious impacts on your health. However, many cases of Type 2 diabetes can be prevented by maintaining a healthy weight and being more active.
If you are at risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, the good news is that by learning more about it and implementing small changes to your diet and lifestyle, you can delay or even prevent it from occurring in the first place.
Am I at risk?
About 90% of people that have diabetes have Type 2. Normally it occurs in people over the age of 40 but there are some cases of younger people developing it. It generally develops slowly so you may not notice any symptoms, or there may be no symptoms at all. This is why it is really important to know your risk of developing Type 2 so you can take action to prevent it from occurring.
The following are established risk factors for developing Type 2:
- If you are overweight, in particular, if you carry weight around your middle
- If you have high blood pressure
- If you have a parent, sibling or child with diabetes
- It’s 2-4 times more prevalent in people of South Asian, African-Caribbean or Black African descent, and may occur at a younger age (e.g. over 25)
To calculate your own risk of developing Type 2 diabetes please click the image below.
I’m at HIGH OR MODERATE risk, what can I do?
Finding that you are at risk of Type 2 diabetes can be confusing and worrying. Knowing that you are at risk is the first step towards preventing Type 2 diabetes, and the good news is that making small changes to your diet and lifestyle will help reduce your risk considerably.
The 3 areas where you can make these changes are:
- Losing weight if you are overweight & maintaining a healthy weight
- Increasing physical activity & keeping active
- Improving your diet & eating well
If you are at moderate or high risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, speak to your GP practice about being tested for Type 2 diabetes. You may be eligible to be referred onto the NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme - 'Healthier You'.
The NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme
The Diabetes Prevention Programme is a joint commitment from NHS England, Public Health England and Diabetes UK, to identify those at high risk of developing Type 2 diabetes and refer them onto a behaviour change programme. This programme supports people to achieve and maintain a healthy weight and be more active, significantly reducing their risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.
If you are diagnosed with prediabetes (also known as borderline diabetes and non-diabetic hyperglycaemia) & meet the criteria you can be referred by your GP practice onto the programme where you will begin your journey to a healthier you.
Video case studies featuring Diabetes Prevention Programme participants:
I'm at an INCREASED or LOW risk, what can I do?
If your risk of developing Type 2 diabetes over the next 10 years was low or increased, there are still things that you can do to keep your risk as low as possible.
Visit the Diabetes UK website for information and tips on keeping your risk low.
Visit the Get Local section of this site for information on groups, activities and free sessions in your local area, these can help you to move more and eat better to keep to a healthy weight.