Local pre-diabetes results are influencing national roll out

diabetes testYou may remember we launched a new service at the end of last year, supporting people who have been diagnosed as being “pre-diabetic” (also known as “borderline diabetic” – in other words, they have a high chance of getting Type 2 Diabetes).

This was part of the pilot for a national programme which, it was announced this week, will be rolling out across the UK very soon thanks to the success of courses like ours.

To date, we’ve started 31 courses at 26 GP surgeries across South Birmingham, with another 19 planned for April. We’ve had around 600 referrals so far and we’re very pleased to say we’ve had a 92% retention rate.

Those are the stats, but what do the people who’ve actually been on the pre-diabetes course think about it? Well, we’re delighted to note that the feedback from participants has been overwhelmingly positive about the course – and their new lifestyles! Just last week we received this email from Elaine with some great news:

I had my blood sugar test done last July and as you know it was 44. Since that time I had been following a healthy diet. Attending your course reinforced my knowledge and reminded me of the hidden sugars. I am pleased to tell you I had a blood test last week and my result was 40 so I celebrated with a hot cross bun. For me I think it was no sugar in tea/coffee, if I had cake or pud I made my own with very little sugar or a sugar substitute, wholemeal/granary bread, wholemeal pasta, porridge with seeds/nuts, very little potato and lots of veg/salad, protein and most meals made from scratch.

Why is this great news? Well, a score of 40 means she’s no longer pre-diabetic!

A diagnosis of pre-diabetes is given when someone’s HbA1c – their level of glycated haemoglobin – is measured at 42 mmol/mol or more (with 48 mmol/mol or over meaning that someone is diabetic). So, at 40 mmol/mol, Elaine is back in the “normal” range.

Congratulations to Elaine and everyone else on the pre-diabetes course who is working hard to become healthier and reduce their chances of a Type 2 Diabetes diagnosis.

Tackling pre-diabetes could be a walk in the park!

As well as changing the way you eat, watching out for sugars in food and cutting back on portion sizes, one of the main ways to lower your blood sugar levels and the chances of being diagnosed with diabetes is to do more physical exercise.

walkingOne of the things we try and do at Gateway is to make it as easy as possible for people to do that, by referring people from the course into other services that can support people to do more physical activity.

Gateway Health Trainer Keiran has been running walking groups in South Birmingham for a few years now, and he’s very keen for people with a pre-diabetes diagnosis to join him in taking some gentle physical activity.

Walking is one of the simplest ways to start exercising – it’s free and you can start off however slowly you like! However, many people find motivation difficult. Walking groups are a great way round this, providing incentive, support and even new friends. To find out more about Keiran’s walking groups, ask your GP to refer you to a Gateway Health Trainer.

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