World Diabetes Day takes place today and is an important issue to highlight. Diabetes is a condition that is characterized by a build-up of glucose in the bloodstream. This is caused by a lack of or insufficiency of insulin. Insulin acts like the key that opens the doors of cells to allow glucose in and when this does not happen, glucose builds up and can lead to serious health problems with the eyes, kidneys, nerves and heart. Around half of the global population with diabetes are undiagnosed.
There are two types of diabetes – Type 1 and Type 2. Type 1 diabetes occurs when the body cannot produce any insulin and is usually diagnosed in children and young adults. This occurs when the cells that make insulin in the pancreas are killed off by the immune system, leading to dependency on insulin injections. Type 2 diabetes occurs when the body produces insulin, but can’t use it properly. Initially, the pancreas makes more insulin to make up for the problem, but over time it can’t keep up and the body’s blood glucose levels rise higher than they should. Type 2 diabetes accounts for 90-95% of all diagnosed cases and can be prevented through diet and lifestyle.
Obesity significantly increases the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes and even small weight loss can make a big difference to your risk. A 2016 study showed that when obese adults lost just 5% of their body weight, they produced more insulin, became more sensitive to insulin and decreased total body fat and fat in the liver.
Small steps you can take to prevent the disease:
- Swap sugary drinks for water, coffee and tea.
- Avoid fats found in fried foods and eat good fats found in nuts, seeds and fish.
- Reduce consumption of red and processed meats.
- Choose wholegrains like brown rice and bread over white alternatives.
- Increase physical activity to improve muscles ability to use insulin more efficiently.
Click here to take five minutes out of your day to check your risk of Type 2 diabetes with this quick online test. 1 in 2 adults with diabetes is undiagnosed and this test aims to predict an individual’s risk of developing Type 2 diabetes within the next ten years.
Do something for your body today.