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Retired council official salutes diabetes prevention programme

Retired council official salutes diabetes prevention programme
08 November 2017

A Congleton pensioner lost two stone in just 10 weeks after following a course for people at risk of developing diabetes.

Michael Blake, of Field View Road, Somerford was referred to the Healthier You: NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme by his GP at Readesmoor Medical Centre, Congleton.

The 72-year-old former local government officer joined 19 other people attending weekly sessions at Congleton’s Masonic Hall to get expert advice from ICS Health and Wellbeing on diet, exercise and healthy lifestyles.

Ten weeks after starting the course offered by us, Michael is weighing in at a reduced 18 stone.

He reduced his carbohydrate input by half, after discovering that more than 50 per cent of his diet was made up of carbs. This would ensure a gradual weight reduction.

In addition he used a Carbs and Calories App to calculate his carbs and calories, helping him to monitor his daily food input and keep on the straight and narrow.

Michael's weight had gradually increased after he lost wife Margaret eight years ago but says he’s now fighting fit and determined to lose a further stone while on the programme.

He worked for Macclesfield Borough Council for 33 years before retiring 15 years ago from his role as purchasing and energy management officer.

Our decision to apply for inclusion in the NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme was influenced by the fact that there are more than 9,000 people, or around one in 20, living with type 2 diabetes in Eastern Cheshire.

Nationally, the number of people with the condition has more than doubled since 1996. Type 2 diabetes risk factors include being overweight, having high blood pressure or a family history of diabetes.

Residents can find out if they are among the five million people nationwide at risk of type 2 diabetes by visiting www.preventing-diabetes.co.uk and answering a series of simple questions.

People whose answers show them to be at moderate to high risk should contact their practice nurse or GP to arrange the necessary blood tests. Depending on what the tests reveal, the practice will then refer the patient to the Healthier You service.

Those referred onto the programme get tailored, personalised help to reduce their risk. Support includes education on healthy eating and lifestyle, help to lose weight and bespoke physical exercise programmes.

The nine-month intervention starts with a one-hour, one-to-one counselling and advice appointment followed by a series of group sessions. Each participant’s progress is reviewed every three months with a health and wellbeing coach.

Programmes are offered throughout Eastern Cheshire. Anyone wanting more information on Healthier You before contacting their GP practice should call freephone 0800 043 8906 from 8am to  6pm, Monday to Thursday, or 8am to 5pm on Fridays.

The programme is suitable for people who have been diagnosed with non-diabetic hyperglycaemia, previously known as pre-diabetes, borderline diabetes, impaired fasting glucose, impaired glucose tolerance, impaired glucose regulation or impaired fasting glycaemia.

Every year, type 2 diabetes costs the NHS £8.8bn, or almost 10 per cent of its budget. It also causes around 22,000 early deaths in England every year. If current trends continue, 70 per cent of people will be overweight or obese in 20 years’ time and one in 10 of us will develop type 2 diabetes.

Jackie Lothian, ICS Health and Wellbeing service integration facilitator, said: “The whole purpose of Healthier You is to help at-risk people make healthier choices about how they exercise and what they eat.”

Dr Paul Bowen, our clinical chair and GP with McIlvride Medical Practice, Poynton said: “Michael’s weight loss and improved lifestyle illustrate the benefits of following a tailored behavioural change programme.”

Stephen Ryan, head of Diabetes UK in the North, added: “Every day, around 65 people with diabetes die before their time. It’s extremely important we invest in preventing type 2 diabetes and improving care for people with type 1 and type 2 diabetes, especially as the prevalence of diabetes in the North West is above the national average.”