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Type 2 diabetes affects the way the body controls and uses sugar. It is a major cause of sight loss, amputation, kidney failure, heart attack and stroke. Those with diabetes may be more likely to have more severe symptoms when infected with covid-19 and poorer outcomes such as higher chance of death.

In Waltham Forest, approximately 21,954 Waltham forests have Type 2 diabetes of which around 3000 are undiagnosed and not receiving treatment. Late diagnosis leads to worse outcomes such as amputations and damage to kidneys, feet, eyes, nerve, the heart, and blood vessels.

People who are at higher risk of developing Type 2 diabetes are those who:

  • are black or south Asian (more at risk if 25 years or older)
  • are older (more at risk if over 40 years and white ethnicity)
  • have family history of type 2 diabetes e.g. parent, sibling
  • are overweight or obese
  • have a history of high blood pressure

Simple steps such as a healthy lifestyle (diet and exercise) and knowing your risk of diabetes can help prevent or delay the risk of developing diabetes and its associated complications. Sign up to services in Waltham Forest to help you adopt healthy lifestyles.

Keep reading for information about our top tips on how you can prevent type 2 Diabetes today.

Top tips to help you prevent Type 2 diabetes

Diabetes case studies

  • Healthier You: NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme in Waltham Forest identifies those at high risk of Diabetes (who have high blood sugars above the normal range), offering them a personalised service, including tailored weight loss, healthy eating and exercise programme, to help to reduce their risk of Type 2 diabetes. Speak to your GP about getting a blood test. Complete this questionnaire to find out if you are at risk of diabetes. 

    Read more about what residents from East London are saying about the Healthier You service
  • Free NHS Health Check – to check your risk of Type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and other conditions (available for those aged 40 to 74).
  • Each Waltham Forest Children and families’ centres hub through the HENRY  Best start service have trained nutritionists and champions, who offer group, drop ins and one on one sessions to families with children five years and under. Call 0208 496 5223 to get support. 
  • NELFT nutrition and dietetic service offers expert nutritional advice and weight management service on a one to one and group sessions basis.
  • Diabetes  Action CIC work with individuals, schools and faith groups to support affordable healthy eating and raise awareness about diabetes. DAC also offer FREE online cooking classes, fitness sessions and mindfulness (contact: Monica Saunders on info@diabetesaction.org.uk or call: 07958404160)
  • Bags of Taste offer cooking lessons around cooking healthy tasty meals on a low budget. They currently offer sessions virtually
  • NELFT and Bartshealth (Whippscross) offer support to people with Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes around managing the disease.
  • Waltham Forest Diabetes UK Group support group for people living with diabetes, their carers or friends (contact: John Fisher on nigeljohnfisher@gmail.com)

What is Diabetes Click to get info

Diabetes is a long-term condition that causes a person's blood sugar level to become too high. It is triggered by higher than normal glucose (blood sugar) levels which in turn is caused by a lack of insulin (type 1), or impaired insulin levels (type 2)

There are two main types of diabetes; type 1 and type 2.

  • Type 1 diabetes is where the body is not able to make any insulin, which our bodies need to control our blood sugar levels. The exact cause of type 1 diabetes is not clear, and there is no way to prevent it from developing.
  • Type 2 diabetes is where the body produces less insulin than it needs, or the body stops reacting to insulin in the same way by becoming insulin resistant in which case it produces too much insulin. Both of these can cause blood sugar levels to become too high.  

A person’s risk of type 2 diabetes tends to increase as they get older, however more children and young people are now being diagnosed. Obesity is a significant risk factor for type 2 diabetes. Some groups, such as people of black or south Asian ethnicity, or those with close relatives with type 2 diabetes are also at increased risk. 

  • Gestational Diabetes

Some pregnant women suffer from what is called gestational diabetes, as their bodies cannot produce enough insulin. This diabetes often goes away after the baby has been born but can cause problems during or after pregnancy – this can often be avoided if gestational diabetes is detected early and kept an eye on, and treatment given if necessary.

More information on diabetes can be found on the NHS website.

Identifying diabetes Click to get info

Nearly seven per cent of the adult population has diabetes in Waltham Forest. Another three per cent of adults are thought to have diabetes which has not been diagnosed yet.

Diabetes is diagnosed using blood tests, and a few tests may be needed to confirm the diagnosis.

If you have any of these symptoms, speak to your GP:

  • feeling very thirsty
  • passing urine more often than usual, particularly at night
  • blurred vision
  • cuts or wounds that heal slowly
  • feeling very tired
  • weight loss and loss of muscle bulk.

Get more information about NHS Health Checks and how they can help to prevent diabetes and other long term conditions.

Use your Know Your Risk tool to find out your risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. It only takes three minutes