Northamptonshire residents urged to find out more about diabetes risks

Brian said the thought of not being here for his family spurred him into action.
Brian said the thought of not being here for his family spurred him into action.

A ‘diabetes van’ will visit three county towns this week to help residents find out more about the condition.

The events will be held in Corby, Daventry and Northampton as part of Diabetes Prevention Week which runs today (Monday) to April 7 and aims to raise awareness of the causes and complications of Type 2 diabetes, particularly amongst groups at higher risk.

There are more than 35,000 patients in Northamptonshire who are diagnosed with diabetes and it is estimated as many as 11,000 more people may be undiagnosed. In addition, it is estimated that a third of the population is at increased risk of developing diabetes.

The Diabetes Van will be available on the following days and locations:

Thursday April 4, 10am - 5pm. Tesco, 15 New Street, Daventry, NN11 4BT

Friday April 5, 10am - 5pm. Morrisons, 26 Victoria Promenade, Northampton, NN1 1HB

Saturday April 6, 9.30am - 5pm. Corporation Street, Corby Town Centre, Corby, Northamptonshire

Dr Sanjay Gadhia, diabetes clinical lead for Northamptonshire’s CCGs, said: “Having Type 2 diabetes potentially increases your risk of serious problems with your eyes, heart and nerves. This is why we are keen to prevent as many people as possible from developing the condition, and to identify earlier those who do develop it as this massively reduces their risk of complications.”

Sarah Barnes, commissioning lead for diabetes for Northamptonshire CCGs, said: “Across Northamptonshire we now offer the ‘Healthier You: NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme’ to all patients at risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. There is strong evidence that individuals taking part in this programme significantly reduce their risk for developing Type 2 diabetes, and the changes also reduce their risks for heart problems. It helps people take control at a critical moment in their lives.”

Professor Jonathan Valabhji, national clinical director of diabetes and obesity, said: “Around two thirds of adults and one third of children are now overweight or obese, driving higher and higher rates of Type 2 diabetes that we are now focusing huge efforts to address, as outlined in the NHS Long Term Plan.

“I’m delighted that our work so far in this area has been producing really positive results. This weight loss and glucose reduction is promising – we hope to help many more of those who are at risk of Type 2 diabetes to not get it in the first place.”

Northampton-based Brian Mitton, 76, had wrestled with his health and weight for over two decades. So, when a blood test revealed he was borderline diabetic, he didn’t hesitate to join the Healthier You: NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme in the hope of making long-lasting changes.

He said: “I didn’t need an incentive to join. My brother-in-law died from diabetes-related complications and the thought of not being here for my family spurred me into action.

“I had a heart attack in 1999 which led to me dieting for 20 years.

“Whenever I’ve reached a healthier weight by eating well and being more active I’ve always felt much better. Consequently, I know a lot about what’s healthy so I needed a mind-set adjustment more than anything else.”

Delivered by health services provider Ingeus, the programme aims to support those at high risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes so they can reduce that risk, delay it, or even eliminate it.

Brian said: “The educator Henna is really good. She takes the time to listen to everyone and is really positive. She talked about being mindful and gave us suggestions for alternatives to comfort food.

“An added bonus was my wife accompanied me to the sessions. It meant she was on the same page and we could support each other.

“I’ve lost around 7lb (3kg) so far and have made more positive choices around food and activity like cycling while on holiday and taking the stairs whenever I can.

“The group had some good ideas for fitting in activity throughout the day like getting up when the adverts are on and walking around - it’s really that simple. It’s the small changes that are more sustainable.

“I know that families can influence each other and many members of mine struggle with their weight. As a father I want to enjoy my grown-up children and my grandchildren - and I want to be an example, to show that there’s a better way.”

Ingeus educator, Henna Parmar, said: “Brian understands the impact diabetes can have on individuals, and their families, and he’s doing really well to incorporate small changes into his lifestyle. This means he has more chance of making his healthier lifestyle last long-term this time. It all adds up and it’s certainly well worth it.”

If you feel you may be at risk of diabetes or have any concerns, visit the diabetes van for an informal chat or make an appointment with your GP.