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Brent Cross event highlights the prevalence of diabetes in Barnet

Barnet Council recently took part in a diabetes awareness event at Brent Cross Shopping Centre, encouraging shoppers to assess their risk of getting diabetes.

The event also provided shoppers with general health advice from doctors, diabetes specialists and dieticians. Shoppers identified at risk were offered a diabetes test, where 23 people were shown to have Type 2 diabetes and a further 20 individuals found out that they were pre-diabetic, and at significant risk of developing the disease.

Interestingly, not one of the shoppers tested were aware of this problem. The on-site clinicians were able to provide the group with specialist advice and they were then referred to their own GP. The findings from the awareness day highlight how important it is for people to get tested, regardless of whether symptoms present themselves.

Risk factors of Type 2 diabetes can be reduced by making positive lifestyle changes to diet and physical activity. Diabetes, when not managed well, can have serious life limiting complications, including stroke, heart disease, and developing blindness and nerve damage.

Chair of the Health & Wellbeing board, Councillor Caroline Stock, who helped coordinate the event at Brent Cross Shopping Centre, said: “Diabetes Week is an important time of year for Barnet Council, as it presents a perfect opportunity for us to highlight the risks and symptoms of diabetes, as well as encouraging people to get tested.”

“The implications of being diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes are huge. During our day at Brent Cross Shopping Centre, I was shocked that so many people tested positive, without being aware of having the disease.

“It is really important that people who are at risk make those all-important life changes. Recent research has shown that Type 2 diabetes can be reversed by changing your diet and taking regular exercise.”

Dr Debbie Frost, Chair of Barnet Clinical Commissioning Group and Vice Chair of the Health and WellBeing Board said, “Many people either have diabetes or are at risk of developing the condition without even realising it. It was a real privilege for me to attend this event on behalf of Barnet CCG to join our partner organisations and raise awareness of Type 2 diabetes.  As a local GP, to see residents being offered testing on the spot and then being directed to the relevant support and advice was wonderful to see.

"We want to support people to stay well and be able to manage their condition as best we can. I’m already looking forward to next year’s event."

The event came ahead of Diabetes Week and was run by council staff and volunteers from local agencies such as Diabetes UK, Barnet’s leisure provider GLL, Saracens Sport Foundation, North Central London Diabetic Eye Screening Programme, as well as doctors and nurses from the Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and the Central London Community Healthcare Community Diabetic Service.

Dance classes for over 50s, parkrun events, health and wellbeing drop ins, talks and guided walks are just some of the other events and activities Barnet Council is helping to support during Diabetes Week.

Residents can see if they are at risk by visiting the Know Your Risk section of the council website. Residents who are within the ‘at risk’ category can also request a screening blood test through their local GP.

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