A Cleator Moor man is hoping to inspire others after adopting a healthier lifestyle helped him avoid Type 2 diabetes.

On World Diabetes Day, Paul Hurst, 55, has spoken out about his health issues.

Paul’s fighting spirit was not in the least bit diminished when a blood test revealed he was at high risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.

He met the challenge head on and just 10 months later, and with support from his local Healthier You diabetes prevention service, sport lover Paul has lost weight; reduced his blood sugar level; and is inspiring other family members to follow in his tracks.

Paul had a long-standing career and actively enjoyed a variety of sports before spine damage led him to medically retire aged 52.

Subsequently diagnosed with bipolar disorder and experiencing numerous health challenges including liver surgery, Paul’s weight crept up to 120kg as his activity levels lowered.

“I blamed my medication when my weight started to increase, but realistically I was comfort eating and a lot less active; it’s easily done,” said Paul.

“When my GP told me my blood test showed a worrying trend towards diabetes it gave me the prompt I needed. I hadn’t been beaten so far, and diabetes wasn’t going to either!”

Paul was referred by his GP to the Healthier You programme, an NHS England initiative run locally by health provider Ingeus.

He attended the 10-month insight programme at Whitehaven Sports Centre to help make positive changes to his diet and activity levels.

Many cases of Type 2 diabetes can be prevented by adopting a healthy lifestyle and Paul put his new-found knowledge to good use, losing almost 20kg in weight, reducing his HbA1c blood sugar level from 42 to 36 and now swimming a mile each day.

“It was an eye-opener learning about the effects of different foods on our bodies,” Paul continues. “I reprogrammed myself on how to eat and how much to eat. This isn’t a quick-hit diet, what I’ve learned has changed my eating habits for good.

“Being with like-minded people in the group motivated me and helped me share tips and challenges. I realised that even with my spine damage, an active life is still

possible. I feel so much better for losing weight and it’s had an incredibly positive effect on my mental health too. It’s the best course I’ve ever done.”

Dr Amanda Boardman, a GP in Cumbria said: “Paul’s story is fantastic for highlighting that these are factors that individuals have the power to take control of themselves, and by taking steps to improve their diet and by engaging in physical exercise for at least 30-45 minutes, three to five days a week, they can dramatically reduce their risk of developing the condition.”