Bradford Beating Diabetes: clinical leaders hear first hand local people’s experiences of diabetes

Four local people with diabetes are sharing their experiences with local clinical leaders in the wake of a major campaign to overcome the challenges of the condition.

Bradford Beating Diabetes – which launches on 14 November (World Diabetes Day) - aims to raise people’s awareness of the disease to help them reduce the risk of developing it.  The campaign will help them to recognise the signs of diabetes, know how it is controlled and how complications can be avoided.  It will highlight the benefits of regular physical activity, eating healthily and making the right choices to reduce the risk of contracting the disease.

At its meeting on Wednesday, Bradford City Clinical Commissioning Group’s governing body will also hear about how the campaign can impact on local people.

Javid Akhtar, Mohammed Khaliq, Clarissa Britton and Zafar Iqbal will share the events that led to their diagnosis, how they have learned to manage their condition and their views on what could be done to help people avoid developing the condition.

Javid Akhtar, 67, originally went to his GP with an infection that wouldn’t clear up. From this he was diagnosed with diabetes - a condition, until then, with which he was unfamiliar.

Since his diagnosis, Javid has been on daily medication, exercises regularly, eats a healthier diet and has cut down the amount he is eating to keep his diabetes under control. He says “I have always been careful about what I eat, but now I make sure that I go to the gym two or three times a week and, on the days I don’t go to the gym, I go for a walk.”

Javid  says that if he had been aware of diabetes earlier and known he could be at risk, he would have taken action sooner.  He thinks it is a good idea to raise awareness and help people avoid develop the condition.

An impromptu men’s health check at work led to Mohammed Khaliq, 45, being diagnosed as borderline diabetic. He hadn’t been to the doctors in around 15 years and by the time he was diagnosed, changing his diet did not help to control his condition.  He is now taking daily medication for diabetes.

He believes that the convenience of unhealthy takeaway food is a major contributing factor and that regular health checks should be considered.

Clarissa Britton, 81, was diagnosed 16 years ago and also knew nothing about diabetes. She says: “I was quite surprised that I had something I didn’t even know about.  It is really important for me to attend all of my medical appointments without fail and to act on the advice they give me.”

Ten years ago, Zafar Iqbal, 50, started to suffer pain in his joints as well as pins and needles in his feet. He was diagnosed with both arthritis and type 2 diabetes and now takes daily medication.  He says:  “It had never crossed my mind that I might get diabetes.  It would be helpful to raise awareness, provide check-ups and talk to people about the condition.”

A fellow diabetic, Dr Akram Khan - the governing body lead and clinical chair of Bradford City CCG - believes that more needs to be done in the Bradford area to raise awareness of diabetes and to help people understand the steps they can take to prevent or delay the development of the condition.

“Diabetes can affect anyone but understanding what can be done to prevent it and raising awareness in the local area can really alert people to how they can lead a healthier life.

“That’s why we are launching the Bradford Beating Diabetes campaign as a way of putting a local spotlight on the condition and helping family doctors to target people who are at risk or have been diagnosed.”

Bradford Beating Diabetes is being delivered to patients by their own family doctors who will assess and identify those at risk and support them in taking steps to reduce that risk.  It will focus, in the first instance, on contacting people who are known to be at significant risk of developing diabetes. They will be offered brief interventions and/or be signposted to an intensive lifestyle change programme.  The second phase of the campaign, which is to be rolled out in 2014, will help to raise awareness about healthy lifestyles.

Bradford City Clinical Commissioning Group’s governing body meets on Wednesday 6 November 2013 at 1.00 pm in Suite 2, Carlisle Business Centre, 60 Carlisle Road, Bradford BD8 8BD.