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Celebrating our Wandsworth Diabetes Champions

Today is World Diabetes Day and we’re marking the day by celebrating the commitment of our Wandsworth Diabetes Champions.  With new recruits having recently completed their training, Wandsworth now has 23 active Diabetes Champions. 

Throughout the year, Wandsworth Diabetes Champions are out and about in the local community educating, supporting and raising awareness of diabetes by organising stalls, talks, presentations and healthy living days at community centres, health fairs and local festivals. 

The Champions have been involved in a variety of local events and awareness talks across the borough this year, including: Get Active Wandsworth, Roehampton Fun Day, Southside Health pop-up shop, Balham and Tooting Assocation, Mind, South Thames College and St George’s and Queen Mary’s staff health events.  The Champions are networking with and accessing the harder to reach groups and speaking to a high percentage of BAME individuals.

Diabetes can be a serious long term health condition with consequences that over time can be devastating, causing heart disease, blindness, amputations, and even early death.

90% of cases are due to Type 2 diabetes, which is largely caused by being overweight or obese and by eating too much sugar, although your age, ethnicity and family history can also have an impact. Improving your diet and doing more physical activity can reduce your chances of developing it.

The other 10% of cases are due to Type 1 diabetes, which is caused by an immune disease and isn’t preventable, but it’s still important to manage the condition and take the right medication.

Type 2 diabetes is increasingly common. Each week 15 people in Wandsworth are told they have Type 2 diabetes.  In a year that’s enough to fill 10 double decker buses.  There are already 11,700 local people living with Type 2 diabetes and another 23,000 are on the verge of getting it.

The Diabetes Champions programme is run by NHS Wandsworth Clinical Commissioning Group, in partnership with Diabetes UK (DUK) and Public Health Wandsworth, and aims to raise awareness of diabetes, the risk factors, and the signs and symptoms to look out for amongst Wandsworth residents.

If you would like to book a Diabetes Champion to speak with your group or attend your event, or for further information, contact Jan O’Brien, or telephone 020 88126732.

With good management of diabetes, those that do have it can lead normal lives.