On World Diabetes Day (14 November), people living in Birmingham and Solihull are being encouraged to take small steps to prevent developing Type 2 diabetes.
Over 100,000 people in Birmingham and Solihull live with diabetes, with most cases being Type 2. This leaves people vulnerable to vision loss and blindness, kidney failure, and even lower limb amputation. People with diabetes are also up to five times more likely to develop heart disease or have a stroke than those without it.
However, many cases of Type 2 diabetes can be prevented or managed by looking after your weight, eating healthily, and being more active.
Diabetes UK Community Champions raise awareness of diabetes, and advise people on how to manage the condition. The Birmingham and Solihull Community Champions programme supports the volunteers to engage with local communities.
The trained Community Champions mostly engage with people from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) communities to raise awareness of the seriousness of the condition, and how it can be managed. People from BAME communities are two to four times more likely to develop Type 2 diabetes.
Jit Pundal, a Birmingham local who lives with diabetes, and is a Community Champion, said “I am diabetic; my Dad was, my Mother is; and a large number of my close family and friends are also diabetic. So, for me, it's personal.
“I want to make sure that everyone (especially the BAME community) knows about the benefits of healthy eating, cooking, living and being physically active, as it can help you control your diabetes, and your mental health.”
Dr Saqib Mughal, a local GP and Clinical Lead for Diabetes at NHS Birmingham and Solihull CCG said “Type 2 diabetes is a serious condition, and in many cases is preventable. This is why we are so glad to have the support of our Community Champions.
“We have a large and diverse population in Birmingham and Solihull, and our Community Champions should be celebrated for the dedication that they show in educating and supporting people to manage Type 2 diabetes.”
More information, including how to become a Community Champion, is available on the Diabetes UK website.