Diabetes: Strategies for preventing the type 2 variant

A Leicester man with type 2 diabetes is urging people to do all they can to prevent being diagnosed with the condition which could potentially have “ruined his life”. Patrick Quinn was diagnosed with the condition that is usually associated with poor lifestyle in 2014. Speaking during Diabetes Prevention Week that is currently take place across England and Wales, the 53-year-old said at the time of his diagnosis he was overweight and felt tired all the time.

The payroll administrator said: “I was immediately prescribed metformin and then it hit me that this was a life-long condition. I knew that if I didn’t take urgent action this condition could have ruined my life.” Patrick started to watch what he ate, but he completely turned his life around after being asked to take part in a lifestyle research programme called DIASTOLIC.

The aim of the DIASTOLIC study is to compare the effects of a low energy diet with an exercise programme and standard care on the hearts of adults with type 2 diabetes. The research is funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR), the research arm of the NHS, through part of a research fellowship for Professor Gerry McCann, consultant cardiologist at Leicester’s Hospitals. It is conducted by a joint team from the NIHR Leicester Biomedical Research Centre and Leicester Diabetes Centre. Patrick said: “I was randomly selected to take part in the exercise group, which I had dreaded as I was not active at the time I signed up. I was asked to attend a one-hour gym session three times a week for three months.

“I really thought it was going to be difficult but it was easy. They started me off with walking on a treadmill and very, very slowly they built up my stamina and before I knew it I could run for half an hour without stopping. I really surprised myself and started seeing changes to my health and my body.” After realising he was enjoying running, towards the end of the trial Patrick signed up to take part in a two-mile fun run raising money for the Brain and Spine Foundation.

Patrick added: “Before I started the programme I would never have dreamed that I could even walk two miles, never mind run that distance. I feel fitter, happier and believe I have a better hold over my type 2 diabetes. I just wish I had made these slight lifestyle changes before I was diagnosed.”

Professor Melanie Davies CBE, who is Director of the Leicester Diabetes Centre and also Professor of Diabetes Medicine at the University of Leicester, said: “The cost of treating diabetes could hit £17 billion by 2035, crippling the NHS, which is why it’s crucial we find out the best way to treat type 2 diabetes and the complications associated with the condition.

“However, we do know it is possible to prevent a type 2 diabetes diagnosis if people are willing to make small lifestyle changes. This means losing weight, improving their diet and participating in regular exercise. Overhauling your lifestyle can be challenging, but living with type 2 diabetes is a serious condition and we urge people to do all they can to prevent developing it before it’s too late.”

Professor McCann also explained why the study was so important. He said: “Heart disease is the most common cause of death in patients with diabetes and they are at least three times more likely to develop heart failure. We need to find treatments that can effectively reverse heart damage in patients with diabetes to reduce their risk of complications and death.”

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Source Material: Details of this programme was provided to us by the University of Leicester. It is reproduced here under CCL permissions. Published 17th April, 2018.

About the Leicester Diabetes Centre: The Leicester Diabetes Centre is an international centre of excellence in diabetes research, education and innovation and is led by Professor Melanie Davies and Professor Kamlesh Khunti.