This week is Type 2 Diabetes Prevention Week (1-7 April) and a Lewes bus driver is sharing his story to inspire others to take control of their health.
Terry is 53, and because his dad experienced heart problems in his late 40s, he was spurred on to get an NHS health check at his GP practice. It flagged that he was high risk for developing diabetes.
“I was told that if I didn’t do something about it, I’d be likely to get the disease. I have family members with diabetes so I understand the consequences and wanted to nip my risk in the bud.”
Terry was referred onto the Healthier You: NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme (NDPP), a behaviour change programme to help reduce his risk, or even stop him getting diabetes altogether.
“I was apprehensive about the group setting but I really enjoyed it. Rebekah, the educator, was very knowledgeable and experienced, and we had fun. Admittedly, I’d been overdoing the fast food and chocolates and was overweight, so it was really helpful to learn about healthy eating and getting into good habits. I made a conscious decision to reduce the treats and increase the healthier carbs and veg.”90% of all diabetes is Type 2, and it means that your body can’t produce enough insulin to process the sugar in your blood, or that the insulin it does make doesn’t work properly. So blood sugar keeps rising. Prolonged high blood sugar can damage your pancreas, heart, eyes, kidneys and feet.
It is a serious condition. But, it can be prevented and even sometimes reversed by losing weight, eating healthier and being more active.
Terry is a bus driver, and can be sitting down for up to 14 hours, so as well as improving his diet, he started going to his local gym three times a week, and signed up for the ‘Couch to 5k’ programme at Lewes Athletic Club.
“I’ve lost 10kg and four inches from my waist, my BMI is great and, best of all, a blood test showed I’ve lowered my diabetes risk. My family have noticed a positive difference and have complimented my new look. I feel brilliant and have more energy. I’m also proud to say that within eight weeks of joining the athletic club I was running that 5k! I’d say to anyone who’s had a diagnosis like mine to have an open-mind and try the programme.”
Book an NHS health check with your GP today and see what your diabetes risk is. You may be surprised. Lots of people don’t notice any symptoms at all.
In the meantime, try eating a bit healthier and getting active. For more information about Type 2 diabetes, visit stopdiabetes.co.uk