Luton Clinical Commissioning Group

NHS Luton Clinical Commissioning Group

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Diabetes can be very serious. It means that blood sugar levels are too high and this can lead to damage throughout the body.

The NHS Long Term Plan sets out a range of improvements for those at risk of Type 2 diabetes and living with Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes; many of which we have already started to implement with our partners across the health system.

Why the focus on diabetes? Because it is a leading cause of premature mortality with over 22,000 additional deaths each year, doubles an individual’s risk of cardiovascular disease and costs over £10 billion every year to manage. There are also significant inequalities present as people from south Asian and black ethnic groups have up to a six-fold greater chance of developing Type 2 diabetes than people from white ethnic groups.

There are 2 main types of diabetes:

Insulin is a chemical messenger used by the body to reduce blood sugar levels. If you’ve got Type 1 Diabetes, you can’t make any insulin at all. It is not thought to be related to lifestyle. If you’ve got Type 2 Diabetes, it’s a bit different. The insulin you make either isn’t working properly, or you can’t produce enough of it. Type 2 Diabetes is strongly related to lifestyle without enough insulin, or with insulin not working properly, sugar builds up in the blood. This can lead a number of different problems.

Type 2 Diabetes is currently much more common than Type 1 Diabetes. This has been a dramatic shift over recent decades as the population have become generally more overweight. Around 90% of people living with diabetes have Type 2 Diabetes and the number has doubled over the past 20 years.

Click here to watch a short video on 'What is diabetes?'.

In Luton nearly 14,000 people know they are living with Type 2 Diabetes but thousands more have the condition but aren’t aware. Most people with Type 2 Diabetes don’t have any symptoms at all. However, if you have any of the following, it’s really important that you visit your GP practice as soon as possible:

  • Feeling very thirsty
  • Passing urine more frequently
  • Unexplained weight loss

You are more at risk of Type 2 Diabetes:

  • If you’re overweight, especially if you’re large around the middle
  • If you are physically inactive
  • If you have a diet high in highly processed foods If it runs in your family
  • If you are of South Asian descent or Black Caribbean or Black African descent.
  • If you have high blood pressure
  • If you smoke

The NHS Health Check is a great way to check your risk of Type 2 Diabetes. This is offered every 5 years to people aged between 40-74 years who are not already known to have any cardiovascular problems . If you are found to be at high risk of Diabetes, you will be offered a blood test part of the NHS Health check.

You can also estimate your risk of Type 2 Diabetes with the Diabetes UK Know Your Risk Tool. Go online to: - if your risk score is high, ask your GP practice for a blood test to check if you have diabetes.

If you are found not to have diabetes but your blood results show you are at high risk of developing the condition, your GP can refer you to the NHS Diabetes Prevention pro- gramme. This offers personalised support to achieve a healthy weight, improve diet and become more physically active and can reduce your  risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes in the future.

Click here for further information on preventing type 2 diabetes.

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