This week (12th – 18th June) is diabetes awareness week but how aware are you?
There are two different kinds of diabetes. Type 1 diabetes, which usually develops in children and young people and needs insulin treatment to control blood sugar and type 2 diabetes which tends to occur as we get older.
Here’s a few facts which may help you get your head around it all:
Type 1 diabetes is not preventable, it accounts for around 10% of adult diabetes cases, it usually develops before the age of 40 and it is treated with insulin injections.
Type 2 diabetes, although a serious health condition with around 11.6 million people in the UK at risk, it can be prevented. Diabetes usually develops in adults over the age of 40, it starts gradually and can often take a while to be detected.
Type 2 diabetes is treated primarily with a healthy diet and increased physical activity.
Know your risk
It is estimated that about 1 in 3 adults in the UK are at risk of becoming diabetic, having a condition called pre-diabetes. This does not need tablets or injections to manage it but each year a proportion of pre-diabetics “convert” to full blown diabetes.
Some of the ways to help reduce your risk of type 2 diabetes are:
Know your waist measurement: an increased waist size can be a warning factor so get your tape measure out and measure in line with your navel. If it is over 80cm/31.5 inches in women, 94 cm/37 inches in men it’s time to take some action.
Watch your blood pressure: high blood pressure is a factor in developing type 2 diabetes.
Keep an eye on your weight: being overweight increases the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
Whilst there are some things that are out of our control, like a family history or our age, there are still some simple steps we can take to protect ourselves. It’s the same two factors that are key to so many health issues – healthy diet and physical activity!
It may seem like all we ever hear about is diet and exercise but it really does make a significant difference to many long term conditions. The evidence suggests there is little to lose but much to gain.
So don’t put it off any longer but equally don’t try to do it all at once. Commit yourself to making a few small changes that will stand the test of time and become a part of your daily routine. There are loads of tips on the wellbeing page of our website to get you started or you can visit the Diabetes UK website.
One thing is clear, you can’t be too fit and healthy and the long term improvements you’ll see in your wellbeing, both physical and mental, are not to be missed!
Keep it in check
Modern treatments are getting better and better at controlling diabetes and there is even some evidence that type 2 diabetes itself may be reversible through managing diet and obesity.
If you have diabetes type 2, there are 9 annual checks that you should have:
Blood glucose level measurement (HbA1c)
Blood pressure measurement
Cholesterol level measurement
Foot and leg check
Kidney function test (blood)
Kidney function test (urine)
Weight check to calculate Body Mass Index (BMI)
Smoking status check.
Keeping on top of your yearly check-ups significantly reduces your risk of developing diabetes related complications. If you’re due your appointment get it booked today.