Gatwick firm launches major diabetes awareness campaign

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A Gatwick based company has launched an awareness campaign aimed at people living with type 2 diabetes and their families.

Novo Nordisk UK has announced the start of ‘don’t miss a beat in type 2 diabetes’ in the wake of repeated warnings from leading healthcare professionals and charities that more must be done to reduce cardiovascular disease, including heart attacks and strokes, in those living with type 2 diabetes.

The ‘don’t miss a beat in type 2 diabetes’ campaign comprises a website, video animation, online Q&A, and is being fronted by TV and theatre star Christopher Biggins, who, himself, lives with type 2 diabetes.

Novo Nordisk UK, a global healthcare company with 95 years of innovation and leadership in diabetes care, says cardiovascular disease is largely preventable yet the impact is severe.

The cost to the NHS is also severe, with over £7bn spent each year managing complications caused by type 2 diabetes1. The largest cost for complications is cardiovascular disease.

New data from the International Diabetes Federation reveals that two in three people living with type 2 diabetes have cardiovascular disease risk factors such as high blood pressure, uncontrolled blood glucose levels and high cholesterol.

Lifestyle and medication can be used to lower the risk of a person experiencing cardiovascular disease, and people living with type 2 diabetes are encouraged to meet targets for blood glucose, cholesterol and blood pressure, working with their healthcare professional in order to achieve this. Unfortunately, only 40% of people living with type 2 diabetes meet all three targets.

Simon Williams, Head of Communications and Policy at HEART UK said: “Lots of effort goes into raising awareness of type 2 diabetes but we need to move the discussion along to educate people living with the condition about their cardiovascular risk. In the UK, 3.3m people have been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes and that number is snowballing. The number of people having heart attacks and strokes could potentially rise significantly over the next 20 years, unless we take urgent action.”

Despite the significant impact, two in three people living with type 2 diabetes have admitted that they need more information about cardiovascular disease and the risks.

Dr Naresh Kanumilli is a GP with a special interest in diabetes and cardiology, and Clinical Champion for patient organisation Diabetes UK.

He’s backing the campaign and encouraging people living with type 2 diabetes to take steps to reduce their risk.

Here are his six steps for people living with type 2 diabetes to help reduce their risk of cardiovascular disease:

1 Try 30 minutes of exercise, five times a week to raise your heart rate. Walking fast or even gardening counts.

2 Cut down on fatty, sugary and salty foods. Try to have at least two portions of oily fish a week, such as salmon or mackerel.

3 Get support from your GP practice/smoking cessation service to help you stop smoking.

4 Attend your appointments with your diabetes team and know your targets for blood pressure, cholesterol and HBa1c.

5 Understand your medication and take as prescribed.

6 If you drink, cut down on alcohol. Stick to less than 14 units a week and have at least 2-3 alcohol-free days in a week.

For more information, visit the ‘don’t miss a beat in type 2 diabetes’ website: www.novonordisk.co.uk/dontmissabeat