Raising awareness about diabetes in the heart of Croydon
This week, volunteers from the Croydon branch of Diabetes UK, Croydon Black & Minority Ethnic (BME) Forum, supported by NHS Croydon Clinical Commissioning Group were working to raise residents' awareness of their risk of contracting diabetes and steps they can take to avoid it.
Lynette Richards-Lorde, local Diabetes Community Champion and former Director of Nursing and Midwifery in Wandsworth, hosted the stall along with colleagues at Surrey Street Market. The team spoke to over 60 people asking for information, some of whom were diabetic themselves. Over half of those spoken to had a family member who was diabetic. They shared information about how to live well with diabetes, including a list of 15 essentials people with diabetes need to know before going to their annual checkup. Many people commented how useful the health and wellbeing stall was and called for the event to be repeated, not only for diabetes but also for other conditions.
Lynette said, "I trained as a Diabetes Community Champion over four years ago when my husband was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes and I realised there were very few support networks for Caribbean people who have the condition. By having this stall in the centre of Croydon, we are making information accessible to everyone. Many people approached us asking a range of questions, from simple changes to their diet, to how to address complications relating to their kidneys."
Dr Agnelo Fernandes, Clinical Chair of Croydon CCG and local GP said, "The CCG is pleased to support this work in raising awareness of the risk of Type 2 Diabetes. The type of outreach work done by Lynette, her fellow Community Champions and the wider Croydon voluntary and community sector can really help to make people aware of simple lifestyle changes that help them live well with diabetes or reduce their risk of getting the disease."
Diabetes UK Community Champions educate and raise awareness of diabetes and Diabetes UK by organising stalls, talks, presentations and healthy living days at community centres, health fairs and local festivals.
They reach out to and engage people from ethnic minority groups and socioeconomically deprived communities to explain what Type 2 diabetes is, who is at risk, signs and symptoms, myths and misconceptions, complications, and the NHS services that are available in a way that is culturally appropriate.
Diabetes is a lifelong condition that causes a person's blood sugar level to become too high. There are two main types of diabetes: type 1 diabetes, where the body's immune system attacks and destroys the cells that produce insulin; and type 2 diabetes, where the body doesn't produce enough insulin, or the body's cells don't react to insulin. In the UK, around 90% of all adults with diabetes have type 2.
The main symptoms of diabetes include feeling very thirsty, urinating more frequently than usual, particularly at night, feeling very tired, weight loss and loss of muscle bulk and blurred vision. If you experience these symptoms, visit your GP as soon as possible. For more information on diabetes, please visit the NHS Choices website.