Humber Teaching NHS Foundation Trust are raising awareness of diabetes and the small changes people can make to reduce their risk of developing the disease.

According to the International Diabetes Federation, 425 million people suffer from diabetes around the world.

The theme for this year’s World Diabetes Day (14 November) is Family and Diabetes, with the aim of the theme to raise awareness of the impact that diabetes has on the family and support network of those affected.

The Trust’s diabetes and dietetics teams will be at Brunswick shopping centre in Scarborough on Wednesday 14 November ready to talk to the public about diabetes and offer advice.

Diabetes is a chronic disease that occurs either when the pancreas does not produce enough insulin or when the body cannot effectively use the insulin it produces.

In 2016, an estimated 1.6 million deaths were directly caused by diabetes with the disease a major cause of blindness, kidney failure, heart attacks, stroke, and lower limb amputation.

Here we list some key warning signs of diabetes:

  • Feeling very thirsty;
  • Urinating more frequently than usual, particularly at night;
  • Feeling very tired;
  • Weight loss and loss of muscle bulk;
  • Cuts or wounds that heal slowly;
  • Blurred vision.

Diabetes Specialist Nurse Liz Harrison said:

Although there are no lifestyle changes you can make to lower your risk of type 1 diabetes, type 2 is often linked to being overweight. Although there are other risk factors, losing weight and adopting positive lifestyle changes can help prevent this condition to develop.

5 ways to significantly reduce your risk of developing diabetes:

  • Lose excess body fat. Quite simply, shedding pounds will drastically reduce your chances of getting type 2 diabetes. 80% of people who have diabetes are overweight, so if you are overweight or obese, it’s time to think about losing weight;
  • Increase your exercise level. Increasing the amount of time you spend exercising will make you feel better and help towards losing weight. Research has found that regular exercise can reduce your risk of developing  by up to 64%. Talk to your GP for an idea of some suitable exercises for you;
  • Stop smoking. Most people are aware of smoking’s link to cancer, but not as many understand how it’s connected to diabetes. Smoking has been proven to increase blood pressure levels, which are known to be a major cause of diabetes;
  • Eat healthily. A diet that is low in fat, sugar and salt and contains a lot of fruit and veg will reduce your cholesterol levels – a simple way to reduce your risk of diabetes;
  • Cut back on alcohol. Drinking alcohol can contribute towards the conditions that cause diabetes. Booze can increase your chances of putting on weight, as it is essentially empty calories. Heavy drinking can also lead to conditions such as chronic pancreatitis, which has a side-effect of diabetes. There’s nothing wrong with a little alcohol in moderation, but excessive drinking can definitely lead to an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

Liz said:

We are looking forward to meeting the public at our event on World Diabetes Day as we want to promote the message of working together and hopefully inspire people to take control of their health.

We’d like to share useful information to help prevent diabetes and provide support and advice to anyone already diagnosed to live well with it and reduce the risks of complications.