Crossgar’s Tom Cairns Backs Diabetes Prevention Week

Tom Cairns from Crossgar gives thumbs up for the South Eastern HSC Trust’s Diabetes Prevention Programme

Tom Cairns (74) from Crossgar has thanked the South Eastern Trust’s Diabetes Prevention team for equipping him with the advice he needed to reduce his risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes and stabilising his blood sugar levels.

As we mark Diabetes Prevention Week, its campaign aims to raise awareness of the risk of the condition and how to utilise healthy eating habits and exercise on how to avoid it. 

The South Eastern Trust’s Diabetes Prevention Programme helps those patients referred by their GP to earn how to reduce their risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes.

The number of people living with Diabetes in Northern Ireland is estimated at 96,000 with Type 2 Diabetes accounting for 90 per cent of all cases.

The South Eastern Trust Diabetes Prevention Manager Peter Irvine said: “The Diabetes Prevention Programme is designed to help delay or prevent the onset of Type 2 Diabetes for those identified as pre-diabetic by a healthcare professional.

Crossgar’s Tom Cairns, left, and the South Eastern Trust’s Diabetes Prevention Manager Peter Irvine explain how the programme can help patients learn how to reduce the risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes after being referred by their GP.

“The results and feedback the team receives from their patients are excellent on this programme.

“40 per cent of the patients who complete the programme are no longer pre-Diabetic. The results are fantastic for their health and it shows how we are working to make people healthier in the long term.”

Peter said: “The Diabetes Prevention Programme is run over a nine month period with 18 individual sessions carried out in a group setting covering topics of nutrition, exercise and behaviour change. 

“Changes in participant’s lifestyles can lead to a lowering of blood sugar levels into normal healthy ranges.

“Patients are referred to us and we focus on three key areas: nutrition, behavioural changes and physical activity.”

Tom detailed how he has increased his daily step count and become much more aware of how to eat healthier meals.

He said: “I always start my day with a healthy breakfast such as Shredded Wheat and a banana.

“I’ll admit that after dinner I was a ‘Netflix and crisps’ person and that has gone out the window. I’m very much more aware of what is on your plate and loading up on vegetables that has been a big change for me.”

Tom added: “I do the Body Coach, Joe Wick’s 10 minute programme for seniors almost everyday and use an exercise bike at home.

“My weight has come down since I started the programme, my blood pressure reading is good and my GP says the blood sugar reading is now fine.

“I feel an awful lot better, I feel more positive and more confident. This has been a big incentive to keep it going.”