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The NHS is encouraging South Asian people to find out if they are at high risk of developing Type 2 diabetes through using the ‘Know Your Risk’ tool hosted by Diabetes UK. The push comes as data reveals that diabetes has been found in nearly one third of people who have passed away as a result of coronavirus.

Anyone at high risk of developing Type 2 diabetes may be eligible to join their local Healthier You NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme, a joint initiative from NHS England and NHS Improvement, Public Health England and Diabetes UK. The programme supports people to make positive changes to their diet, weight and the amount of physical activity they do – to significantly reduce the risk of developing this disease.

The call out comes as we are reminded that South Asian populations are up to six times more likely to develop diabetes than white populations and that if diagnosed, it can lead to blindness, kidney failure, loss of a limb and it also increases the risk of heart attack or stroke.

 by . Tariq Khan, a 35-year-old chef from Birmingham, enrolled in his local Healthier You NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme in November and has lost almost a stone while taking part in sessions online.

Talking about his experience, Tariq says: “The programme has enabled me to take control of my health by making small changes to my lifestyle. I’ve learnt so much about how my body works and how the choices I make can affect it. I’ve cut down a lot of fried food and sweets common in the South Asian diet, I now have smaller portions and more vegetables.”

“What’s fantastic is that the programme has continued through the pandemic via video calls, keeping me motivated when it could have been tempting to go back to old ways. We have been advised not to sit for a long time and that small things really do make a difference to staying healthy. I’ve been staying active using an exercise bike as well as taking daily brisk walks. The important point is that I feel so much better – more confident and full of energy.”

 Type 2 diabetes risk factors:

  • Your age. The older you are, the more at risk you are
  • Your family history. You’re two to six times more likely to get Type 2 diabetes if you have a parent, brother, sister or child with diabetes
  • Your ethnic background. You’re more likely to get Type 2 diabetes if you are from a Chinese, South Asian, Black Caribbean or Black African ethnic background
  • Your weight. You’re more at risk if you’re overweight
  • Your blood pressure. You’re more at risk if you’ve ever had high blood pressure

 by . Dr Chirag Bakhai, a GP from Luton and Primary Care Advisor to the Healthier You NHS Diabetes Programme said: “In my role as a GP, I see many people and families who have been severely affected by Type 2 diabetes. Although the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes is higher in people from a South Asian ethnic background, it is important to recognise that the condition can be prevented. Making some simple changes can significantly reduce your risk and help you avoid developing Type 2 diabetes. The first step is to find out more about your risk and the changes you can make.”

To find out your risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, visit www.diabetes.org.uk/knowyourrisk.

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