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7 April 2011
MEND and Diabetes UK have launched their Healthy Lifestyle Roadshow this week to help people in the most deprived and ‘at risk' areas in the country to find out more about diabetes, and discover whether they are at risk of developing Type 2 diabetes2.
The roadshow aims to identify some of the estimated 860,000 people across the UK who have Type 2 diabetes but are not aware they do. This is vital because if the condition is not diagnosed early enough or left untreated, it can lead to devastating complications like stroke, heart disease, kidney failure and blindness. The roadshow is supported by the Big Lottery Fund and run in partnership with MEND (Mind, Exercise, Nutrition...Do it!) an organisation that provides healthy lifestyle programmes to local families.
The roadshow raises awareness of risk factors for Type 2 diabetes which include being overweight or having a large waist, being aged over 40 (or over 25 in Black and South Asian people) and having a close relative with diabetes. At risk waist measurements are 37 inches or more for men, except those of South Asian origin who are at risk at 35 inches or more, and 31.5 inches or more for all women. The symptoms of diabetes include going to the toilet (urinating) more often and especially at night, increased thirst, extreme tiredness, unexplained weight loss, genital itching or regular episodes of thrush, slow healing of cuts and wounds and blurred vision.
Diabetes UK staff will offer free diabetes risk assessment tests which predict a person's risk of developing Type 2 diabetes in the next ten years. If this risk is moderate to high, people will be referred to their GP for further advice or tests. People can also find out how to make healthy lifestyle changes by adopting a healthy diet low in fat, salt and sugar and taking regular physical activity. They will also be able to register for MEND's healthy lifestyle programmes, to manage their weight and improve their health.
In 2010, Diabetes UK's Roadshow programme carried out nearly 10,000 risk assessments and more than half of those people were referred to their local GP.
TV presenter Phillip Schofield of This Morning fame is backing the charity's campaign. He said: “I am delighted to be supporting the Diabetes UK Healthy Lifestyle Roadshow which is aiming to find some of the 850,000 people in the UK who have Type 2 diabetes but don't know they do.
“My mother and brother both have diabetes so I know firsthand how it can impact a person and their family's life. As diabetes runs in my own family I ensure that my family and I try to lead a healthy lifestyle to reduce the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. I would urge everyone to visit one of Diabetes UK's Roadshows this year to discover if they could be one of the 850,000 who don't know they have Type 2 diabetes and to find out more about the condition.”
Jill Steaton, Diabetes UK South East Regional Manager said: “Diabetes is one of the biggest health challenges facing us today. It's frightening that there are more than 860,000 people in the UK that have Type 2 diabetes but have no idea they do. I would urge everyone who can to visit Diabetes UK's Healthy Lifestyle Roadshow. It could be the best thing you ever do for your health. ”
Diabetes UK and MEND have been awarded £413,722 from the Big Lottery Fund to support 70 roadshows in England during 2011 and 2012.
Local people unable to attend the Roadshow can still test whether they are at risk of diabetes by taking the free Diabetes UK Risk Score test online at www.diabetes.org.uk/roadshow/riskscore1. If after taking the test they are found to be at moderate or high risk of developing the condition they should visit their GP.