‘World-first’ Suffolk research could help prevent people getting type two diabetes

Prof Gerry Rayman. Picture: IPSWICH HOSPITAL

Prof Gerry Rayman. Picture: IPSWICH HOSPITAL

Groundbreaking research carried out in Suffolk has provided a breakthrough which could help reduce cases of type two diabetes.

The study, described as a “world first”, has found that a programme of support and help for people to change their lifestyles can reduce the incidence of the condition by 50% – and the findings have been outlined today on World Diabetes Day.

Specialists from Ipswich Diabetes Research Unit, led by Consultant Professor Gerry Rayman, worked with colleagues from The Norfolk Diabetes Prevention Study with more than 3,000 people screened in east Suffolk.

This showed that of those found to be at high risk of developing diabetes, given the right advice and support to help them maintain a healthy lifestyle intervention, diabetes was prevented in nearly 50%.

Prof Rayman said: “This is a world first, an important message for people at risk of developing diabetes.”

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He said it was known that type two diabetes could be prevented by changes in lifestyle – but this showed the importance of support and help that could be offered for people at risk of developing the condition.

The results are published this week in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) one of the most prestigious medical journals in the world.

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Prof Rayman is also releasing an important national report: “Diabetes – Getting It Right First Time,” which is set to transform treatment in England. He and his colleague Professor Partha Kar visited more than 100 hospitals across England over a two-year period to assess their diabetes services and make recommendations for improvement where appropriate.

They found large variations in care, from outstanding to extremely poor. The report draws on their experiences and makes a number of key recommendations on inpatient diabetes care, care of those with type one diabetes and care of people with diabetic foot disease - the areas of most concern.

The Ipswich Diabetes Centre also wants to remind those with the condition in East Suffolk that they are here to support them during the pandemic.

People with diabetes, regardless of type, are no more likely to catch coronavirus and for most this is a mild illness without the need to be admitted to hospital. However, for a small number of people with diabetes particularly the elderly and those with poor diabetes control the risk of developing a severe illness is greater if they do get coronavirus. The risk of severe infection in young healthy adults and children with diabetes is extremely low.

The Ipswich Diabetes Centre has maintained a dedicated specialist team throughout the pandemic for people with diabetes registered at the Diabetes Centre and the team is there to support GPs, community and practice nurses with diabetes-related enquires. Urgent face to face appointments are in place for those requiring them with routine clinic appointments conducted by video or telephone.

Jo Hall, diabetes specialist nurse at the Ipswich Diabetes centre said: “Diabetes can feel overwhelming and complicated at times but remember you are not on your own and reaching out to your healthcare team can help lighten the load.”

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