As of 2019, Diabetes UK estimates 3.9 million people have been diagnosed with diabetes in the UK. The condition is a major risk factor for coronavirus, and according to Public Health England (PHE) one-third of people who died in hospital from COVID-19 had diabetes.
What is the NHS diet for diabetics?
A new diet is now being offered on the NHS, which will first be rolled out to some 5,000 people suffering from the condition.
The new diet plan has shown promising results in trials, with NHS England stating almost half of the people who embarked on the diet saw their type 2 diabetes go into remission after a year.
Patients who are given access to the diet programme will be encouraged to follow a weight-loss plan based on soups and shakes.
Patients who have been diagnosed with the condition in the last six years and meet other eligibility criteria will be given the diet products, and they will also receive support to increase their exercise levels.
However, the initiative will only be available in 10 areas of England to begin with.
Professor Jonathan Valabhji, NHS national clinical director for diabetes and obesity, said: “This is the latest example of how the NHS, through our Long-Term Plan, is rapidly adopting the latest evidence-based treatments to help people stay well, maintain a healthy weight and avoid major diseases.
“There has never been a more important time to lose weight and put their type 2 diabetes into remission, so it’s good news for thousands of people across the country that practical, supportive measures like this are increasingly available on the NHS.”
Bridget Turner, director of policy campaigns and improvement at Diabetes UK, said the charity is “so pleased” more people will have the opportunity to put their diabetes into remission.
She said: “We know that some people with type 2 diabetes want and need support from healthcare professionals to lose weight effectively, and now as these programmes are piloted across the NHS they will.
“People with type 2 diabetes who have put their diabetes into remission frequently tell us how it has changed their lives.
“We are so pleased to see that others will now have the same opportunity and hope that it won’t be too long before more remission programmes are rolled out across the country.”
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Why is the NHS offering a new diabetes diet plan?
The rise of type 2 diabetes is a major cause for concern in the UK, costing the NHS some £8.8billion a year in treatments – which is nine percent of the NHS annual budget.
Millions are also thought to be at risk of developing the condition in the future.
Unlike type 1 diabetes, type 2 diabetes is often preventable by adapting behavioural changes.
The condition is often linked with being overweight or inactive. But in some cases, it can be developed due to a family history of the disease.
The condition causes the level of glucose in the blood to become too high, and can cause symptoms such as excessive thirst, needing to urinate a lot and tiredness.
In some cases, diabetes can cause serious complications, such as problems with the eyes, heart and nerves.
And in light of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, those with diabetes are identified as clinically vulnerable by the NHS, meaning sufferers are at higher risk if they catch the virus.
The announcement of the new diabetes diet comes after the NHS announced its new Better Health campaign earlier this year.
The scheme aims to encourage people to lose weight and live a healthier lifestyle, to help tackle the current obesity crisis in the UK.
The NHS also offers a programme tailored to help those who are at higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes, which is called the Healthier You: NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme (NHS DPP).
For those interested in getting involved in your local scheme, contact your GP.
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