I had no symptoms but I was close to having diabetes says a Norfolk granddad
- Credit: Sonya Duncan
A free course helped me turn my life around, says a Norfolk granddad
Phil Pugh says he wasn't the healthiest of people when he went for a free NHS Health - but he still didn't expect the results he was given.
"I retired having had a bit of a sedentary lifestyle through work," he says.
An area sales manager, he says he spent a lot of time driving and sitting.
"I didn't do much activity and it was quite a stressful job, I didn't get much time for anything," he says.
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A health screen nine months after retiring showed he had high glucose levels - and over the next few months he was diagnosed as a borderline diabetic, heading towards diabetes.
"I didn't expect that. But you don't know you have got it unless you look for it. I didn't have any physical signs. I got tired occasionally but I put that down to my age and my active lifestyle," he says.
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Phil, from Framingham Earl, lost weight and took up walking football but his blood glucose levels didn't improve.
"It came out of the blue for me. When I sat down and the GP told me I was diabetic it shocked me to the core. I really didn't understand why I had got it.
"I was losing weight, I thought I was getting healthier," he says.
His GP suggested a free diabetes prevention programme to learn how making changes to his lifestyle could help him reverse that Type Two Diabetes diagnosis.
Phil joined the free XPert Diabetes Programme, attending for a couple of hours once a week for six weeks at Pilling Park Community Centre in Norwich.
"It was a really good intensive course. It was so educational. It told you everything you need to know about sugar and levels and the affect on your liver and pancreas. It told me everything I need to know about diabetes," says Phil, adding that he attended with his wife Jane.
It helped him control his glucose level and therefore his diabetes. Now if a test shows his blood sugar has risen again he knows what action will reduce it.
"The key to all this is getting control of your blood sugar," he adds, thanking the free NHS health check which discovered his high blood sugar level - and resulted in him attending the Xpert course which taught him how to control it.
"If I had not gone to have the health check I could be very poorly by now," he says, pointing out that if diabetes is not controlled it can lead to a number of other serious health problems.
The free NHS Health Check, available through GPs, is for adults in England aged 40-74 and designed to spot early signs of stroke, kidney disease, heart disease, Type 2 diabetes or dementia.
Phil's story follows ex-city footballer Darren Eadie talking about his diabetes scare - when he thought he was fit and healthy - as ambassador for the Menkind campaign, a move by Norfolk County Council to convince men to look after their health. Norfolk County Council's men's health campaign Menkind is not affiliated with the gift and gadget retailer 'Menkind'
Find out more about the diabetes prevention programme here