Type 2 diabetes is a common condition that causes the level of sugar in the blood to become too high. Caused by problems with insulin in the body it can often be linked with being overweight or physically inactive, and if left untreated it can lead to serious problems with your eyes, heart and feet.

The good news is that people can reduce their risk by making changes to their lifestyle.

Over the coming months, people in Dorset who have raised blood sugar and have therefore been identified as being at risk of developing Type 2 diabetes by their GP will be offered support through the NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme to change their lifestyle, helping to reduce or even eliminate their risk.

The NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme is delivered by Living Well Taking Control in a number of areas across the UK including Dorset. The programme offers advice on making changes to individual lifestyle to reduce risk factors associated with the disease. These including losing weight, taking more exercise and stopping smoking.

Dr Craig Wakeham is a GP in Cerne Abbas and is clinical lead for Diabetes with NHS Dorset CCG. He said “Nationally around 9 per cent of the population are considered to be at risk of diabetes. The good news though is that people who may be at risk can take some simple steps to reduce this.

As a GP I would encourage people who receive a letter not to ignore it but to visit their practice and find out more.”

Dr Jane Horne Public Health Consultant with Public Health Dorset “Even if you are not considered to be at risk of diabetes, simple changes like giving up smoking, eating more healthily or taking more exercise, can have a great impact on your health; if you are looking to improve your health there are loads of opportunities to do so across the county. If you are over the age of 18 and want support to help achieve a healthier lifestyle, our LiveWell Dorset service is free and can offer personalised guidance whatever your goal.”

Starting in West Dorset local GP practices will be identifying people who could be at risk and inviting them in to take part in the Diabetes Prevention Programme where they can discuss what they can personally do to avoid diabetes.

Over the next few months the programme will be rolled out across the rest of Dorset.

Diabetes Prevention Week takes place between 16 and 22 April.

Find out more about diabetes at http://www.nhs.uk/diabetes.

For more information about LiveWell Dorset visit www.livewelldorset.co.uk.