HEALTH experts in Dorset are using national Diabetes Week this week to stress the importance of prevention and early diagnosis.

Type 2 diabetes, the most common form of diabetes, is largely preventable and in most cases the risk of developing the condition can be reduced significantly by making some basic lifestyle changes.

Across Dorset, there are currently 37,000 adults known to have diabetes, but it is thought there may be as many as 12,000 undiagnosed people living with the condition.

Anyone between 40 and 74 can have their risk of developing diabetes assessed by having a free NHS Health Check.

The 20 minute NHS Health Check assesses people’s risk of developing a range of problems, such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes and kidney disease.

The local NHS Health Check programme is organised by Public Health Dorset and delivered through GP practices and pharmacies.

Anyone between 40 and 74 who has not been diagnosed with a cardiovascular disease, and has not had a health check within the last five years, is eligible and can book a health check through their GP or a participating pharmacy.