Each day, around 700 people are diagnosed with type-2 diabetes in the UK. With 3.2 million sufferers and one in three people on the cusp of developing diabetes, it’s no surprise that this 21st century epidemic is making the headlines.
However, millions are still in denial about how serious the effects of type-2 diabetes can be on our health and avoid the long term consequences. According to a recent study, 60% of those at risk admitted that they don’t believe they need to be worried about the possibility of developing type-2 diabetes and 40% admitted they knew very little about the disease. Experts suggest that there are a further 600,000 individuals in the UK living with type-2 diabetes, who don’t even know it.
The ‘Lifestyle Disease’ Explained
Type-2 diabetes occurs when the level of sugar (glucose) in the blood becomes higher than normal. It’s generally triggered by lifestyle factors which is why type-2 diabetes is also known as the ‘lifestyle disease’. A family history of the disease can also increase your risk. If left untreated, type-2 diabetes can lead to inability to control blood sugar levels, which can cause damage to blood vessels, nerves and internal organs. This then can lead to health complications such as heart disease, stroke, vision problems, kidney failure and amputation.
5 Top Tips for Preventing Type-2 Diabetes
1/ Maintain a healthy weight: Last year, there were 163,000 new cases of diabetes and it is believed that this increase is largely due to the rise in obesity and unhealthy lifestyle habits. Shedding just 5% of your body weight is said to reduce your risk of diabetes by more than 50%.
2/ Go Mediterranean: Experts have recommended that a Mediterranean-inspired diet can help to prevent diabetes and promote a healthy heart. It includes plenty of fruit and vegetables, lean meat, fish, whole grains, nuts and pulses, with a moderate amount of milk and dairy foods.
3/Get active: Whether it’s walking, swimming, gardening or going to the gym, keeping physically fit can help to lower blood sugar levels and boost your sensitivity to insulin, helping to keep your blood sugar within a healthy range.
4/ Avoid sugary foods and drinks: Did you know that each week the average Brit consumes 238 teaspoons of sugar? Refined sugars are essentially empty calories and offer no nutritional value. Overconsumption can lead to insulin sensitivity which can give rise to type-2 diabetes. Regular drinkers of sugary-drinks have up to 83% higher risk of developing type-2 diabetes. Guidelines from the World Health Organisation suggest that we should half the amount of sugar we consume.
5/ Find reassurance: it’s important to spot the signs and symptoms early. However, for many people the underlying risk factors may not always be apparent and the only way to be sure is to get checked. A health screening is a good way to learn more about the status of your health so that you can tackle any issues and make positive lifestyle changes with the help of your GP.
For anyone wanting reassurance, Life Line Screening recommends their type-2 diabetes health screening. This involves a quick and easy finger-stick check that measures blood sugar levels and is carried out by a team of highly trained healthcare professionals. For more information visit: www.lifelinescreening.co.uk.