A local campaign in Derby has been launched with the aim of creating awareness around diabetes. Awareness to Action’s aim is to encourage young people from South Asian communities - Pakistani, Indian and Bangladeshi - living in Derby to know their risk of developing Type 2 diabetes by taking a quick online test using a free, dedicated online tool. Individuals from South Asian backgrounds are twice as more likely to develop Type 2 diabetes from a younger age than White Europeans.
Among those backing this campaign are Miss England 2019 Dr. Bhasha Mukherjee (who is also a contender for Miss World in December) and Dr. Zafar Iqbal, Head of Sports Medicine at Premiership side Crystal Palace FC.
“As a junior doctor, and as someone whose family has been affected by the condition, I can’t stress enough how important it is to know your risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.
“I would advise everyone to check out Diabetes UK’s Know Your Risk tool online, learn more about their risk of Type 2 diabetes, and get support to reduce their risk if they need to. It couldn’t be easier to use - but it couldn’t be more important either,” said Dr. Bhasha Mukherjee.
In the meantime, the head of the NHS has urged Boris Johnson to be "led by the evidence" showing sugar taxes work, ahead of a report which is expected to call for their expansion. Simon Stevens has warned that “poor diet is now a bigger health threat than smoking” as health chiefs demanded action to tackle obesity. This is ahead of the proposed extension of the current tax on sugary drinks.
In March 2016 budget, George Osborne announced a new £520m levy on sugar-sweetened drinks to combat child obesity. However, taxation of fast food and sugary products is not enough to curb diabetes. Other lifestyle measures like quitting smoking and alcohol intake can also help.
Know your risk online tool
“Diabetes is an unpleasant disease as it can cause damage to almost every organ in the body but does it silently and it can be several years of someone having diabetes before they start developing signs and symptoms by which time some irreversible damage may already have been done. Early signs of diabetes can include being thirsty, increased urine frequency, feeling tired or blurred vision.
“You can find out if you are at increased risk by answering question by the simple quick online tool by either searching ‘Know your risk Derby’ on Google or visit www.diabetes.org.uk/risk1 to find out your risk. The tool asks you to give details such as age, ethnicity, gender, weight, height, family incidence, high blood pressure and gives a relative risk factor. You are then provided information about how to reduce the risk of developing diabetes,” explains Dr. Zafar Iqbal, Head of Sports Medicine at Crystal Palace FC.
He recommends reducing as little as 5% body weight can help prevent diabetes. The best way of reducing weight is by a combination of healthier food choices and increasing physical activity. All adults should be undertaking at least 30 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity 5 times a week. Increased physical activity has also been shown to increase insulin sensitivity so that blood glucose is even better controlled. He also advises for consumption of non-nutritive sweeteners which don’t contain calories and licensed for use in the UK such as aspartame, saccharin and sucralose. Aspartame and sucralose can both be used in cooking.