A WHARFEDALE GP practice is joining a national push to tackle the UK’s growing diabetes problem.

Westgate Surgery in Otley is supporting National Diabetes Week by offering patients everything from education sessions to NHS Health Checks.

The OneMedicalGroup practice is also putting up information boards and handing out leaflets during the Monday, June 11 to Sunday, June 17 awareness raising campaign.

And it will be supporting Diabetes UK’s bid to make conversations between health professionals and patients about diabetes easier.

Across the UK nearly 3.7 million people have been diagnosed with the condition, with about 90 per cent having Type 2 diabetes - which can often be prevented or delayed through lifestyle choices.

Locally, more than 40,000 people in Leeds have diabetes with another 200,000 at risk of developing the disease.

OneMedicalGroup’s first Health and Wellbeing Lifestyle GP Dr Helen Lawal, who presents Channel 4’s How to Stay Well and Food Unwrapped, has created an 8-point plan to help people improve their health and reduce the risks.

She said: “There are some simple lifestyle changes people can make to help them improve their wellbeing, and also limit the risks of Type 2 diabetes.

“We can suggest healthy snacks and what to look for on food packaging, and simple ways to increase how much you move – all of which can help your general health.”

There are an estimated 12.3 million people at increased risk of developing Type 2 diabetes in the UK, with obesity the leading cause of the majority of preventable cases.

Lead GP at Westgate Surgery, Dr Dave Kirby, believes increasing awareness is vital to tackling the problem.

He said: “Supporting Diabetes Week is part of our philosophy of preventative and proactive healthcare.

“We want to raise awareness of the symptoms of diabetes for those at risk of developing it as well as support those currently living with, and managing, this life-changing condition.

“Educating more people about diabetes through information, advice and annual health checks will make conversations about diabetes easier, for both patients and health professionals.”

Testing for diabetes is straightforward and the surgery is urging anyone with suspected symptoms, or with worries about their weight, to contact their surgery or pharmacy for help.

Symptoms of diabetes include:

*Increased thirst, drinking a lot of fluids, or passing a lot of urine

*Being tired for no reason

*Weight loss

*Genital itching

To find out more visit www.diabetes.org.uk .