27 Sep Effective weight management fundamental to improve type 2 diabetes symptoms, says Essex Nurse
A practice nurse in Benfleet is calling for more individuals living with type 2 diabetes to seek support to better manage their weight, following a successful reduction in symptoms among existing patients.
In South Essex, there are approximately 38,000 people living with type 2 diabetes , with obesity a key driver of the long-term health condition.
Currently working at High Road Family Doctors, Heather Cannon has been in general practice for over 32 years and has found that weight intervention is key to helping those living with type two diabetes to improve symptoms and ultimately reduce medication.
For the past year the practice has worked closely with local healthy lifestyle provider MoreLife Essex, who offer free Tier 3 adult weight management services to communities in South and West Essex – something which is only available in a few regions across the country.
The unique relationship between GP and community provider sees patients gain access to a free science-powered adult weight management programme delivered by MoreLife’s team of expert psychologists and weight management professionals.
Heather Cannon, Practice Nurse at High Road Family Doctors in Benfleet, said: “Effective weight management is fundamental to help symptoms of diabetes and when someone is first diagnosed, the first step I take before prescribing any medication is to review their BMI and their diet.
“We have referred over 15 patients onto MoreLife’s adult weight management programme over the past year and by having this level of free support available to our residents helps toward relieving the current pressure on our health system. In addition to the medical advice we offer around diabetes, our patients can now benefit from detailed discussions on dietary improvements with a dedicated MoreLife practitioner.”
Chris Govus, aged 68 from Benfleet was referred by Heather on to the MoreLife weight management programme in April 2021 following a review of his BMI, and has since changed his life around by losing over 3 stone on the programme and reducing his diabetic medication by almost 75%.
Through weekly sessions that include eating habits, stress management and moving more, Chris has already gained the necessary skills and knowledge to make positive changes to his lifestyle and now is monitoring his blood sugar levels more carefully – something he rarely did before.
Chris said: “For many years I have known that I have been grossly overweight, however no matter how hard I tried to lose weight and keep it off, I failed. I was too fond of the ‘wrong’ kind of food and had little will power to control the quantities that I ate.
“I have been a type 2 diabetic for over 28 years and when I was first diagnosed, my GP told me it was irreversible. This gave me no motivation to change my eating habits and my diabetic medication steadily began to increase over the years. I have learnt from MoreLife that losing weight in a significant and sustained way will improve my health and MoreLife has given me the motivation and determination I need!”
Emily Costelloe, Contract Manager at MoreLife Essex, said; “Stories like this really demonstrate how the power of collaboration can not only help reduce pressures on NHS staff, but also drive real behavioural change and lifestyle improvements for those living with Type 2 diabetes.
“Having partnerships with local GP’s means we are able to help save thousands of pounds of medication and care needs for the NHS in the long term. We are always on the lookout for new GP partners and local organisations we can work with to help raise awareness of our evidence-driven and research led weight management programme.”