Keith Vaz: Diabetes was a real wake-up call

Keith, who is chairman of the Home Affairs Select Committee, is making sure his teenage children Luke and Anjali are aware of the condition and are tested regularly.

“Diabetes does run in families and if people are aware of that they can make changes to their life and delay the onset,” he says.

It’s not known for sure why people from Asian and African backgrounds are more prone to the condition but it may be due to the different way in which their muscles burn fat. One study concluded the rate among these communities in the UK was “astonishingly high”.

Keith adds: “Awareness is so critical. Our job is to harvest people and send them to their GPs.”

Medication and improvements in his diet mean that although there is no cure, Keith’s diabetes is under control.

“I’ve had to increase my tablets,” he says. “Diabetes will affect my health as I get older. If I don’t look after myself then blindness, liver failure and amputations are all concerns.

“I’m never going to go to a gym but I intend to get an exercise bike for my home.”

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