To mark Diabetes Awareness Week (11 to 17 June), people are being urged to take steps to prevent themselves from developing Type 2 diabetes, which is linked to lifestyle.

Around 90% of people with diabetes have Type 2. The illness can develop slowly, usually over the age of 40. It may have no symptoms or the symptoms may not be obvious which means people can go for years without realising they have it.

If it is not properly controlled, diabetes can lead to serious complications. It is the leading cause of blindness in people of working age in the UK, according to Diabetes UK. People with the condition can develop hypoglycaemia if their blood sugar is too low which can cause shaking, sweating, palpitations and blurred sight. Diabetes can damage the sensation in the feet which, if untreated, can lead to foot ulcers, infections and, at worst, amputations.

Cardiovascular disease is more common in people with diabetes which can lead to heart disease, stroke and other disease of the heart and circulation. Other complications include kidney problems, and nerve damage. People with diabetes can develop diabetic ketoacidosis or go into a hyperosmolar hyperglycaemic state, both of which are potentially fatal.

Claire Morgan-Hughes who runs Devon Fit Camp in Ivybridge is particularly keen to raise awareness of diabetes amongst men.

She said: “Unfortunately it’s quite common that men still feel uncomfortable talking about issues regarding their health and we need to act now to change things. More people than ever are at risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, if nothing changes at the current rate more than five million people will have diabetes in the UK by 2025.”

Claire is suggesting five steps that men can take to reduce their risk of developing the condition. These are:

Reduce belly fat as it can surround vital organs and increase the body’s resistance to the hormone insulin, which can lead to Type 2 diabetes

Exercise regularly to reduce blood glucose levels and manage weight

Eat a healthy, balanced diet

Limit takeaways and processed foods which can be high in salt, fat and calories

Limit alcohol intake which can increase blood pressure, weight and levels of triglyceride

Devon Fit Camp offers 50 minute workouts and support with nutrition.

Specsavers in Plymouth is marking Diabetes Awareness Week by reminding people with diabetes how important it is to have regular eye checks.

Sophie Castell, Director of Relationships at RNIB, said: “Sadly, all too often, people with diabetes can lose their sight due to complications. Yet with early detection through regular eye tests and specialist diabetic eye screening followed by timely treatment, sight loss due to diabetic retinopathy can be prevented. We’re so grateful for the support of Specsavers’ staff.”

Dr Josie Forte, store director at Plymouth said: “Many people are unaware that eye tests are not only critical for your eyes, but your wider health too. At Specsavers, we offer digital retinal photography for free as part of a standard eye test for customers aged over 40. This takes a detailed picture of the back of your eye and the microcirculation of blood – helping to highlight indicators of diabetes that need addressing alongside the diabetic eye screening programme.”

For more information about diabetes prevention, diagnosis and management, visit: