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Most people have heard about diabetes. And, with 3.5 million people diagnosed in the UK many of us will know a friend or family member living with diabetes.

Diabetes is a condition where the amount of glucose in your blood is too high because the body cannot use it properly.

It develops when glucose can’t enter the body’s cells to be used as fuel. This happens when either:

  • There is no insulin to unlock the cells (Type 1 diabetes)
  • There is not enough insulin or the insulin is there but not working properly (Type 2 diabetes).

Diabetes can cause serious long-term health problems such as cardiovascular disease, vision loss and kidney failure.

Currently, more than 60,000 people in Derbyshire have Type 2 diabetes, which is largely preventable through lifestyle changes, and 70,000 more are thought to be at high risk of developing it.

The most common symptoms of diabetes include:

  • Going to the toilet a lot, especially at night.
  • Being really thirsty
  • Feeling more tired than usual
  • Losing weight without trying to
  • Genital itching or thrush
  • Cuts and wounds take longer to heal
  • Blurred vision

If you have any of the above symptoms you should contact your GP.

It doesn’t necessarily mean you have diabetes, but it’s worth checking – early diagnosis and treatment are vital to reduce the chances of developing serious complications.

Patients at high risk of Type 2 diabetes in Derby and Derbyshire can take part in Healthier You: NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme to help patients change their lifestyles.

GPs are inviting people they know to be at high risk to enrol for tailored help, including education on healthy eating and lifestyle changes, and bespoke physical exercise programmes, all of which together have been proven to reduce the risk of developing the disease.

Find out more about our Healthier You programme.

Some of the risk factors for Type 2 diabetes – such as age, ethnic background, or family history – can’t be changed, but others can.

Eating more healthily and getting more exercise are some of the main things you can do to help reduce the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.

Physical activity can reduce your chance of developing Type 2 diabetes by up to 40 per cent as well as reduce the risk of other health conditions.

Get more advice and help on managing diabetes.