Diabetes

Diabetes is a lifelong condition that causes a person's blood sugar level to become too high.

About 90 per cent of diabetes sufferers in the UK have Type 2 diabetes, which is largely preventable through healthy living, which includes adding physical activity and a balanced diet into your lifestyle.

About 7 per cent of Brent's residents suffer from diabetes, and it is estimated that 17 per cent of all deaths in Brent can be attributed to diabetes .

Diabetes can be managed and controlled but there is no cure, and sufferers are at increased risk of heart disease and stroke, nerve damage, retinopathy, kidney disease and foot problems .

Its very important therefore, that if you think you have diabetes, you see your doctor, as they will be able to help you to manage it correctly. 

Who's at risk?

If you fit into any of the following categories, you are at increased risk of diabetes, and you should go and see your GP:

  • you are over 40 (or over 25 if you are South Asian)
  • you have a close family member with diabetes (parent, brother or sister)
  • you are overweight, with a large waist size (over 80cm (31.5 inches) for women, 94cm (37 inches) for men, or 89cm (35 inches) for South Asian men)
  • being South Asian, Black African, African Caribbean - even if you were born in the UK
  • you have ever had high blood pressure, a heart attack or a stroke
  • you are a woman with polycystic ovary syndrome and overweight
  • you are a woman and you've had gestational diabetes or given birth to a baby over 10 pounds
  • you have a severe mental illness for which you take medication (such as schizophrenia, bipolar illness or depression)
  • you have been told you have impaired glucose tolerance or impaired fasting glycaemia.

What are the symptoms?

The following are the main symptoms of diabetes. If you suffer from these, you should visit your GP:

  • passing urine more often than usual, especially at night
  • increased thirst
  • extreme tiredness
  • unexplained weight loss
  • genital itching or regular episodes of thrush
  • slow healing of cuts and wounds
  • blurred vision

How can it be prevented?

The best way to prevent diabetes is through healthy living, including a balanced diet and plenty of physical activity.

Try some of the following ideas to improve your lifestyle, and keep you and your family healthy

You can also assess your risk of diabetes online, by answering a few simple questions. It only takes 3 minutes.

For more information about diabetes, visit the Diabetes UK website.

Diabetes Community Champions

The Brent Diabetes Community Champions are working throughout the borough to raise awareness about the signs, symptoms and risk factors of type 2 diabetes and how individuals can reduce their risk and manage their diabetes.

They are also carrying out “Know Your Risk” assessments in the community. They also educate and raise awareness to people from Black, Asian and other ethnic groups and signpost individuals to local health services.

Find out where they'll be during Diabetes Awareness Week 2016 (12 to 18 June) and get a Know Your Risk assessment.

For further information or to request the support of the Diabetes Community Champions at a local event, email us at healthyliving@brent.gov.uk.