This post is in collaboration with LloydsPharmacy
There is a family history of diabetes in my family; my mum had gestational diabetes when she was pregnant with me and it then didn’t go away after I was born. I have also had gestational diabetes with both my girls….with Bee it was diagnosed as soon as I was pregnant. But I was lucky in that the diabetes went once the girls were born. However once you have gestational diabetes then there is the increased risk that you will develop it later in life.
Type 2 diabetes is a serious medical condition but according to Diabetes UK, there are 1.1 million people in the UK with undiagnosed type 2 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes is when the body is ineffective at using the insulin it has produced or is unable to produce enough insulin; which results in high blood glucose levels.
What Causes Diabetes?
There is no specific cause that can lead to developing diabetes. There are various factors that could lead to developing diabetes but for me I knew there was an increased risk due to:
- Family History
Getting Checked for Diabetes?
If you believe you are at risk of getting diabetes then blood tests can help determine if you have it. This can be organised via your GP but more recently I have learnt that LloydsPharmacy also provide a Type 2 Diabetes screening service.
Lloyds Pharmacy Diabetes Screening
I recently visited my local pharmacy to take advantage of the screening service. The screening takes place in a private consultation room and the whole process was straightforward. And the service is completely free!
Initially some questions are asked to determine if you are at high risk:
- Your age
- Your height, weight and waist measurement
- Your daily activity
- Your diet, in particular how many fruit and vegetables you eat
- If you use high blood pressure medication
- If you have ever had a high blood glucose reading
- If any family member has diabetes
Based on the initial assessment, if you are at high risk then further tests are carried out.
Once my measurements and the answers to my questions were inputted into the system, the risk assessment showed that I was at risk with a score of 17; 12 and above means you have a probability of diabetes.
The next step is to take a random blood glucose test and check your blood pressure. Blood pressure is also checked as having diabetes increases your risk of high blood pressure.
The random blood glucose test is a simple finger prick test.
The results will give an initial indication as to whether you are at risk. If the levels are on the high end then it will be recommended you return for a fasting test (no food for at least 8 hours before the test). However if they are extremely high then a referral will be made to your GP. My result was 6.9 mmol/l which is above the ‘safe’ number of 6 mmol/l so it was recommended that I returned for a fasting test.
Although my blood glucose test was a bit on the high side, I was thankful that my blood pressure appeared normal.
LloydsPharmacy don’t just do the test but can offer some advice on reducing the risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes. The main tips I received to help prevent diabetes were:
- Try to exercise daily if possible – 30 minutes
- As I drive everywhere it was suggested that I try to find ways to possibly walk on the shorter journeys
- Make sure I eat more fruit and vegetables – I admitted I am not very good at getting my 5 a day even though I try to make sure the girls get their fruit and vegetables. So it was suggested that I eat at the same time as when they are having fruit to ensure I am also eating it
- Manage weight – exercising and eating a balanced. healthy diet should aid with weight loss. I do eat out a lot and have takeaways which aren’t necessarily healthy… so this does need to be limited.
During the appointment, when my weight was measured, I realised that I had gained some weight. So I will be booking myself back into some exercise classes to get my weight back down and lower my BMI!
The LloydsPharmacy screening service is ideal for those who think they are at risk but aren’t sure. The staff are knowledgeable and the whole screening process does not take long. If you would like further information about the screening service you can find more information on their website: LloydsPharmacy Diabetes Screening Service.
LloydsPharmacy do not just do diabetes screening, but also offer Cholesterol Checks, Heart Health Checks and also offer a Medicines Check up Service. So why not pop to your local LloydsPharmacy if you are at all concerned and get screened for free?