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Dietitians at Bradford Teaching Hospitals are highlighting the specialist support available to patients with diabetes in the run-up to next week's National Diabetes UK Awareness Week (June 8-14).

Diabetes is a serious condition with around 26,000 people living with the condition across the district. It's estimated that by 2030, as many as one in ten people across Bradford and Airedale will have diabetes.

Diabetes occurs when the amount of glucose (sugar) in the blood is high. The condition carries risks of multiple, yet potentially preventable complications.

There are two main types of diabetes:

¢ Type 1 diabetes develops if the pancreas is unable to produce any insulin. It is commonly diagnosed in childhood although it can arise at any age. Treatment requires daily injections of insulin.

¢ Type 2 diabetes is a serious progressive condition. It develops because there is not enough insulin, or the insulin produced does not work properly. In the past it was an illness of older adults but as obesity rates rise it is being diagnosed in younger and younger people, even young teens. Diet and exercise are the key treatments with tablets or injections added in as the condition progresses.

Eighty-five per cent of people living with diabetes across Bradford and Airedale have Type 2 diabetes, which is closely linked to obesity.

Health professionals, based at the nutrition and dietetics department at St Luke's Hospital, are today publicising a series of self-help groups and expert sessions which they hope will help patients improve their condition.

Dietitian Rachel Boyd said: "Diabetes is a huge issue across the city with some medical professionals describing it as a ˜ticking timebomb' due to genetics, obesity, poor diet and sedentary lifestyles.

"By offering this free help and advice, we hope these self-help sessions will give patients the extra support they need to lose weight, eat more healthily and get moving. All areas which, when targeted, will lead to an improvement in their condition."

National Diabetes Awareness Week aims to fundraise, raise awareness and campaign for diabetes. The aim of the events throughout the week is to inform people about the condition and to improve access to information on diabetes management and diabetes services.

Rachel continued: 

"Diabetes can be incredibly disabling and yet type 2 diabetes in some cases may be prevented and can be well managed if people lose weight, eat well and are regularly more active."

Groups are available to those newly diagnosed with diabetes or those who have had the condition for some time.

They include:

  • Getting Started “ a one-off introductory course teaching patients more about diabetes and the importance of health eating;
  • One-to-one weight loss sessions, where personalised nutrition care plans can be discussed, will run at the following medical centres; Bowling Hall, Eccleshill, Undercliffe, Low Moor, Horton Park as well as Westbourne Green Community Health Centre and St Luke's Hospital;
  • Carbohydrate awareness sessions looking at the importance of carbohydrates to improve diabetes control.
  • 12-week weight loss groups, facilitated by the hospital dietitians, to help people reach their weight-loss targets will run at Westbourne Green Community Health Centre and Shipley Health Centre.
  • The dietitians also run supermarket tours for people with Diabetes at Asda in Rooley Lane and Shipley, Sainsbury's in Greengates, Tesco in Buttershaw (Halifax Road) and Great Horton, Morrisons at the Victoria Centre in Girlington, Rushton Avenue at Mayo Avenue, Thornbury and Enterprise Way, Five Lane Ends, Idle.

For further information on any aspect of diet and diabetes please contact the diabetes dietitians on (01274) 365884 (lines open 8.30am-4.30pm, Monday to Friday). Outside office hours an answerphone is available.