HEALTH & WELLBEING: Take steps now to reduce your risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes

By Dr Avanthi | 12/02/2018

HEALTH & WELLBEING: Take steps now to reduce your risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes

NEW Year is a time when we all turn over a new leaf after the over-indulgence during the festivities. There is an important health reason why you need to eat healthy and exercise more. Did you know that there are currently five million people in England who are at risk of developing Type 2 diabetes? Diabetes, Type 1 and 2, is a lifelong condition that causes a person's blood sugar level to become too high. Type 2 diabetes is far more common than type 1. In the UK, around 90 per cent of all adults with diabetes have type 2. Type 2 is the preventable type of diabetes. You ask how? It can be done by eating less sweets and carbs and by exercising more to maintain your weight to height ratio at an acceptable level.

There are a lot of people who have blood sugar levels at a borderline level, but not high enough to be diagnosed as having diabetes. This is known as pre-diabetes. If your blood sugar level is in this range, your risk of developing full-blown diabetes in the next 5 years is increased It is important for diabetes to be diagnosed as early as possible to minimise the consequences of an untreated high blood sugar level; which are heart attacks, strokes, kidney failure, blindness etc.

I don’t want to get too technical and baffle you with the science of the condition, but basically when food is digested and enters your bloodstream, insulin moves glucose out of the blood and into cells, where it's broken down to produce energy. If you have diabetes, your body is unable to break down glucose into energy. This is due to either not enough insulin to move the glucose, or the insulin produced doesn't work properly.

Although there are no lifestyle changes you can make to lower your risk of type 1 diabetes, type 2 diabetes is often linked to being overweight. Type 2 diabetes is increasing, but it can be prevented through losing weight, eating healthily and being more active.

In Rotherham, we are now part of NHS England’s Diabetes Prevention Programme to help people identified as at risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. Through this programme, we are able to help you take control of your health, supporting you to make changes to your diet, weight and the amount of exercise you do.

As the idea of that new year’s resolution to lose weight wears off, I would encourage you to think about how you can reduce your risk of developing diabetes by making realistic changes to your diet and physical activity that can become a part of your regular routine. If you are worried about diabetes or think you might be at risk speak to a doctor or nurse at your GP practice. Well people between ages of 40-74years are invited for a well person check-up every 3 years. I advise you to take up the offer to be screened.

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