30th Aug 2018
People in Norfolk are being urged to live healthier lifestyles after a new analysis is predicting a steep rise in the number of people suffering heart attacks and strokes because of diabetes.
West Norfolk Clinical Commissioning Group is promoting the importance of a healthy lifestyle following the British Heart Foundation analysis, which was released last week.
The charity is forecasting that the number of people who will suffer a heart attack or stroke will rise by 29% by 2035 because of the increasing number of people developing type 2 diabetes.
People who have diabetes are twice to four times more likely to have a heart attack or stroke than those who do not have the condition.
At least 52,560 people in Norfolk have diabetes with 11,610 of that number living in West Norfolk.
Diabetes UK Clinical Champion Dr Clare Hambling, who is a West Norfolk CCG Governing Body member and Downham Market GP, is highlighting the importance of a healthy lifestyle to avoid further complications.
She said: “Type 2 diabetes is not always preventable but adopting a healthy lifestyle may help reduce your risk of developing type 2 diabetes and also help to protect you against vascular disease, such as heart attack or stroke.
“While many people know about the importance of blood sugar control in diabetes, other factors, such as high blood pressure and cholesterol, are also very important when trying to reduce your risk of complications.
“Anything you can do to reduce your risk of developing type 2 diabetes and to improve your vascular health is incredibly important. Stopping smoking, maintaining a healthy weight by avoiding sedentary behaviour and remaining fit and active, with regular exercise, as well as a healthy balanced diet may help reduce your risk of developing type 2 diabetes and also help protect you against vascular disease.
“The analysis by the British Heart Foundation highlights the importance for people to make those small changes, such as moving more and improving their diet, to improve their long-term health.”
High levels of blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar act together to cause damage to blood vessels which can then starve vital organs, such as the heart and brain, of oxygen and essential nutrients. Damaged blood vessels can also lead to circulatory issues which can cause problems with feet and eyes.
In Norfolk, a strong emphasis is being placed on preventing type 2 diabetes, as well as helping people living with diabetes to reduce their risk of diabetes-related complications and vascular disease by improving control of blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar levels.
Patients are able to help with this by:
Regular exercise and avoid sitting down for too long
Eating a healthy diet
Keeping to correct weight
Avoiding salt and processed foods
Not drinking too much alcohol
Dr Hambling said: “For people living with diabetes, ensuring that blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar levels are checked regularly and are well controlled, as well as stopping smoking and adopting a healthy lifestyle, reduces the risk of developing complications and vascular disease and improves life expectancy.
“The importance of a healthy lifestyle cannot be under-estimated.”