how to prevent diabetes


What is type 2 diabetes

Diabetes is a disease that affects the body’s ability to regulate its sugar levels, this can be very dangerous and possibly fatal. With type 2 diabetes, your body either does not produce enough insulin or does not use the insulin produced properly (also known as Insulin resistance), unlike type 1 diabetes where it is widely accepted to be caused by the immune system attacking insulin-producing cells or just not producing insulin and commonly believed to be genetic.
If you are pre-diabetic or are at risk of developing type 2 diabetes, there are still things you can do to delay or prevent developing it.

 

Who is most at risk of type 2 diabetes?

The majority of people diagnosed with diabetes have type 2 diabetes. Developing type 2 diabetes often comes on slowly, typically affecting people over the age of 40. Often times the signs may not be obvious, or they may be none at all, due to this there have been some cases of people with type 2 diabetes going undiagnosed for up to 10 years. This is why it is crucial to understand the risks of developing diabetes. You may also be at an increased risk if you meet one or more of the following: 

  • Being diagnosed with prediabetes.
  • Being over 40.
  • Carrying extra weight, especially around the gut.
  • A family history of diabetes.
  • Being diagnosed with High Blood Pressure.
  • Having high cholesterol or high levels of triglycerides.
  • If you are of South Asian, African-Caribbean or Black African descent.
  • Having an inactive lifestyle.
  • A personal history of stroke or heart disease.
  • A personal history of diabetes during pregnancy.
  • If you have been diagnosed with Acanthosis nigricans, usually comes in the form of dark patches of skin that appear in the armpits, groin or neck.
  • Chronic Stress.
  • Being diagnosed with or having depression.
  • Smoking.

 

Can I prevent or stall getting type 2 diabetes?

If you have been diagnosed with prediabetes or you are at an increased risk of developing diabetes, you still have options to prevent or stall developing type 2 diabetes. The changes you can make generally involve making healthier lifestyle decisions. Understanding and practising healthier lifestyle changes don’t just lower your risk of developing diabetes but also may lower your risk of developing other diseases, and you will overall have more energy and a noticeably better mood on average. These changes are: 

  • Stop Smoking/Don’t start. Smoking can cause many underlying negative health outcomes. One of these is insulin resistance, which can lead to type 2 diabetes. Try to quit or don’t start.
  • Getting regular exercise. Excerseing has a plethora of health benefits, including helping you lose weight and reducing Blood Glucose levels. Both of these lower your risks of developing type 2 diabetes. Aiming for around 30 minutes of exercise a day (could just be a walk) increases the number of calories you use which in turn can lower your blood glucose levels. Speaking with your healthcare provider about physical activity and what’s best for you will help you in setting goals structured for you and meeting them.
  • Weight Control. Losing weight and keeping the extra off is a crucial measure you can take in preventing your risks of developing type 2 diabetes. If you feel that you may be at an increased risk due to weight, speak with your diabetes team or family Doctor about losing weight, you will gain much better knowledge from them than anywhere else, due to their extensive medical expertise and medical history on you.
  • Create and follow a healthy meal plan. Eating healthy and reducing the total amount of calories you consume a day is a vital step in maintaining weight loss and keeping your body energised. To accomplish this you may find that reducing your portion sizes and reducing the number of fats and sugars per portion will help you in reducing your overall caloric intake, which will help you lose weight. Furthermore, incorporating a variety of foods from each food group, drinking plenty of water, substituting snacks for fruits and including whole grains (Brown bread/rice) instead of refined grains (White bread/rice). It is a good idea to reduce the amount of red meat and processed meat you eat. (some studies have shown a 50% higher chance of developing diabetes in those who ate 110g of unprocessed meats a day.)
  • Consult a Medical professional. Speaking with your diabetes team or family doctor will allow you to find out if there is anything more that can be done in preventing diabetes if you are at risk. Your diabetes team or family doctor may also prescribe you some diabetes medicines that may help in preventing type 2 diabetes.

 

What is my risk chance?

Below you can find our risk factor table, match your specifics and add up your total points.

Gender Points Ethnicity Points   Relatives with diabetes Points High Blood Pressure Points
Male 1 White European 0   Yes 5 Yes 5
Female 0 Other Ethnic groups 6   No 0 No 0
Age Points
49 or below 0
50 – 59 5
60 – 69 9
70 or older 13
Waist Measurement Points
Less than 90cm (35.5in) 0
90 – 99.9cm (35.5 – 39.3in) 4
100 – 109.9cm (39.4 – 43.3in) 6
110cm (43.4in) or above 9

Calculate you’re BMI online using one of the following tools:

https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/healthy-weight/bmi-calculator/

https://patient.info/doctor/bmi-calculator-calculator

Body Mass Index (BMI) Points
Less than 25 0
25 – 29.9 3
30 – 34.9 5
35 or above 8

Once you have added your total points together use the below indicator to see what your risk level is.

Low Risk Increased Risk Moderate Risk High Risk
0-6 7-15 16-24 25-47

Now what?

Good question. While you are unable to change your age, genes or height, your risk level may be partially due to your current lifestyle.

Check where the majority of your points are accumulating. For example, if your points are higher in the waist size section or you have high blood pressure, increasing the amount of daily exercise may assist you in lowering your waist size and regulating your blood pressure. Following the advice mentioned in this article can assist you in preventing or delaying type 2 diabetes.

 

The risk calculator is not a diagnostic tool. It is made for people without a diagnosis of diabetes and is intended to highlight a person’s risk of developing type 2 diabetes in the next 10 years. The results are not medical advice. If you are at risk or concerned about diabetes, we advise visiting a healthcare professional for further information.

Please note: the results will underestimate your risk if you have a history of diabetes or Gestational diabetes. 

 

I am very new to blog writing and would appreciate any feedback, please leave any comments, ideas or inquiries for more information below and I will do my best to update the blog or just respond to comments.

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