Don’t let type 2 diabetes creep up on you!

17 Oct 2022
Joanne, 58 from Lancashire, was never previously worried about being at risk of type 2 diabetes as she always thought she was active enough and ate well. But after a routine blood test to test her iron levels, they also found her blood glucose reading elevated and in the high- risk range. Joanne explains, “I feel ashamed to say this but my initial perception of people who have diabetes are really overweight and couch potatoes, not me! Now I know how wrong I was after learning about the causes from this programme.” 

A keen rambler and camper van enthusiast, Joanne couldn’t have been more surprised to be told she was now in the high-risk range with a HBA1C score or 42. She was told about the Healthier You NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme which has helped her to understand where her risk was coming from and after the very first session, this helped her decide her next steps. 

“I wasn’t sure why I was on the course to begin with and looking back I think I was in denial. The educators explained all the possible causes of Type 2 diabetes and then I understood what I needed to focus on and decided I was going to own it!”.

Like most of us, Joanne found lockdown tough and it really affected her confidence to get out and exercise. By attending the programme it has changed Joanne’s mindset to be more positive. “Covid really set me back and I thought I would struggle to get back to exercise. I now have more confidence to do things I thought I couldn’t do. I have a great routine at a ladies only gym and feel stronger than ever.”

Joanne felt that one of the big factors that enabled her to get the most out of the programme was being part of a group, even though it was online and not in a classroom. Joanne said, “One of the most enjoyable parts of the programme was the group we had, we were all different, but all had the same goal and target and that was powerful. There was never any judgement from other members or the educators.” 
Throughout the pandemic the Healthier You programme has been delivered remotely and this had its benefits for Joanne when she was away when one of her appointments was due: “Even when I was away on holiday I took my laptop with me so I didn’t miss a session!” 

Over the course of the programme Joanne couldn’t believe the changes to her body losing a total of 18 pounds in weight and over 34 inches in total from her body measurements, with 7 of those coming from her waist.  “I am not only doing this to prevent diabetes now, but also for my future health and what might happen. People are starting to notice the changes now and I can too.”

Semi-retired Joanne has always enjoyed walking in the lake district and getting outdoors, recently engaged she feels this diagnosis came at just the right time to ensure that her future health is now controlled as best as possible. Joanne continued: “I am happier in life now. I have a great sense of achievement as well as the confidence to continue these changes long-term. I am happy with how I look which is a huge confidence boost. I can’t believe the changes in under 12 months and I am glad I found out I was at risk, and made these changes to my lifestyle before I got over 60. I don’t want age to hold me back.”

Joanne’s message for anyone in a similar position is clear: “Don’t make the same mistake I did by assuming you are doing everything right. I would encourage people to have an open mind and give it a go and get your health checked regularly. It might just change your life like it did mine.”

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