Durham man walks away from type 2
A former security guard from Durham has beaten the threat of type 2 diabetes by giving up takeaways and beer.
Robert Routledge, from Ludworth, was warned by doctors that he had the “heart age of an 84-year-old man”.
After being told he was putting himself at risk of many chronic conditions, including type 2 diabetes, the 65-year-old radically changed his lifestyle.
He managed to lose two stone in weight by participating in the six month Just Beat It programme, which is a tailored exercise and lifestyle management programme.
He said: “It was like a slap across the face. I went to the doctor because the wife was saying I was snoring and holding my breath when I was asleep. They said I had high blood pressure and I was at high risk of type 2 diabetes and I needed to do something about it.
In myself I feel a lot better and you can tell just looking at me
“She said I had the heart of an 84-year-old man. I said ‘tell me what to do and I’ll do it’.”
Robert was referred to the Just Beat It programme, which is run by Durham County Council and Durham’s two Clinical Commissioning Groups. The scheme is one of seven demonstrator sites for the NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme which will be rolled out nationally later this year.
The six month scheme is divided up into education and exercise classes with 18 month follow-up appointments and support.
The exercise classes involve high intensity and interval training for weight loss in a local sports hall and educational classroom sessions in a college classroom.
“It was difficult at first but I lost two stone in six months down to 79 kg from 90 plus. Self-confidence, I have no problem with, but self-motivation is non-existent. I learnt a lot from the education classes and I’ve cut out beer, Chinese and other takeaways but I don’t really miss it.
“I was living a sedentary life watching TV all night on my shifts and eating takeaway. But if someone offered me a pint now I’d say no. In myself I feel a lot better and you can tell just looking at me.”
Type 2 diabetes is often associated with obesity and tends to be diagnosed in older people. It can cause serious long-term health problems but can be avoided through a change of lifestyle, healthy eating and exercise.
Around 50,000 people in the Durham area are estimated to be at high risk or very high risk of developing diabetes and could benefit from the scheme; across the 72 GP practices in Durham 115,000 are eligible for the health check this year which is carried out by community teams and GPs.
“You’ve got to want to do it. What makes it is when there are a few of you in the group and you say if you will I will because it keeps you motivated. I’ve managed to avoid type 2 diabetes so far and I’d recommend the programme without a doubt.”
Kayleigh Eckersley-Morris, a health improvement practitioner from County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust who worked with Robert, said: “It’s great when we see the change in people like Robert when they embrace the course and really implement the changes.
“It really is life-changing and can stop people getting type 2 diabetes and the potentially devastating consequences which include amputation and blindness.”