Information for the public

Type 2 diabetes is a lifelong condition. It can also lead to other serious health problems, like heart disease, stroke and kidney failure. Every year 22,000 people with diabetes die early, and 90% of them have type 2 diabetes. But once people know they are at risk they can often prevent or delay type 2 diabetes from starting by making healthy changes to their diet and lifestyle.

We want this guideline to make a difference to people who are at risk of type 2 diabetes by:  

  • making sure that health and community services (for example community pharmacies, dental surgeries, opticians, workplaces, shops and local authority leisure services) offer people in higher risk groups a quick and simple assessment – including people over 40, of South Asian or Chinese descent, or who are overweight or have certain conditions, like high blood pressure
  • encouraging people to see their GP or practice nurse for a blood test and advice if this assessment shows their risk is high
  • offering the people most likely to develop type 2 diabetes a lifestyle programme to help them improve their diet, get more active and reach a healthy weight.

In September 2017, we updated advice about who should be referred to a lifestyle programme based on new information about who it works best for, and to make sure that the programmes work for everyone who needs this support. We have also updated advice about when people should be offered a drug called metformin to help prevent type 2 diabetes.

Making decisions

Your healthcare professionals should give you clear information about how to prevent type 2 diabetes, talk with you about your options and listen carefully to your views and concerns. If you can’t understand the information you are given, tell your healthcare professional.

Read more about making decisions about your care.

Where can I find out more?

NHS Choices has more information about type 2 diabetes.

To do your own quick and easy risk assessment online, visit Diabetes UK.

The organisations below can give you more advice and support.

NICE is not responsible for the content of these websites.

We wrote this guideline with people who have been affected by type 2 diabetes and staff who treat and support them. All the decisions are based on the best research available.

ISBN: 978-1-4731-1108-0

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