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New NHS diabetes guidance

NICE publishes new plan to help prevent type 2 diabetes and its side effects, especially in high-risk groups
WebMD UK Health News
Medically Reviewed by Dr Rob Hicks
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10th May 2011 - New NHS guidance is published today highlighting the rise in type 2 diabetes and coming up with a plan to help prevent it.

The guidance from the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) also focuses on high-risk groups, such as people of South Asian, African-Caribbean, black African and Chinese descent. Diabetes also has a rich-poor gap, with people from worse-off households having a higher incidence of type 2 diabetes.

The new plan to tackle diabetes is aimed at the NHS - locally and nationally - as well as local authorities and the food industry. It has been welcomed by the charity Diabetes UK.

Type 2 diabetes facts

Type 2 diabetes is a chronic condition where not enough insulin is produced by the body for it to work well, or when the body’s cells do not use insulin properly.

The number of people with diabetes is rising in the UK. NICE says around 90% of the 2.8 million people with diabetes have type 2 diabetes.

NICE says diabetes accounts for at least 5% of NHS spending across the UK, with type 2 diabetes medications, such as metformin, accounting for about 7% of the total NHS drugs budget.

Diabetes type 2 complications

Diabetes may lead to complications such as cardiovascular disease (CVD), for example heart attacks, and foot problems such as ulcers and gangrene.

Diabetic retinopathy is also the leading cause of blindness in working age people.

Diabetes type 2 risks

The biggest risk of developing type 2 diabetes comes from being overweight or obese. Having a large waist size, not taking enough exercise, family history of type 2 diabetes and being over 40 also increase the chances of developing diabetes.

Men with a waist circumference greater than 94cm are at risk; the measurement is 80cm for women.
Being a member of certain ethnic groups also increases your risk. People of South Asian origin in the UK are up to six times more likely to have type 2 diabetes than are people who are white. They are also likely to develop type 2 diabetes 10 years earlier.

People from poorer backgrounds are three and a half times more likely to experience ill health from diabetes than those in better-off groups.

'Comprehensive prevention strategy'

The new diabetes type 2 guidance from NICE is aimed at local and national NHS organisations and public health services, local authorities, companies and voluntary organisations.

The new plan includes:

  • Integrating national strategies to help prevent type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and certain cancers
  • Use information, including census data, to identify high risk communities
  • Encourage people from black and minority ethnic and worse-off groups to be more physically active and to adopt a healthier diet by ensuring local shops stock good quality, affordable fruit and vegetables
  • Address the stigma and fatalism around diabetes and the assumption that it is 'inevitable'. Address misconceptions about what is a healthy weight
  • Set up local awareness initiatives
  • Work with the food industry to cut calories, saturated fat and salt, and improve food labelling

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