Last Thursday marked World Diabetes Day and with more people diagnosed with diabetes every day, it's important to know how diabetes could affect you, and your family. Dr Louise Overend, Diabetes Consultant at North Cumbria Integrated Care NHS Foundation has shared some advice.
About 90% of people with diabetes have Type 2 diabetes and it can develop gradually over a number of years. The signs may not be obvious, or there may be no signs at all.
Your risk of developing Type 2 diabetes increases as you get older, and is more likely if there are other people in your family who have diabetes, but there are other factors that affect your risk of Type 2 diabetes including:
- Being overweight, especially if you are overweight around your middle
- Having high blood pressure
- A sedentary lifestyle (if you spend long periods sitting or lying down, even if you do exercise at other times)
- drinking too much alcohol
- not getting enough sleep
This means that you can reduce your risk of developing Type 2 diabetes by:
- having a healthy balanced diet avoiding too much fat, sugar, or refined carbohydrates
- spending less time sitting down and more time being active for example, walking more, taking part in an activity class or sport, or it could be as simple as getting up from your seat and doing more around the house. Even moving a little more makes a big difference
- losing weight if you're overweight
- stopping smoking
- reducing your alcohol to less than 14 units per week and making sure you have 2-3 alcohol free days per week
- try to get enough good quality sleep
The Diabetes UK website offers more information about how to reduce your risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. Visit: https://www.diabetes.org.uk/preventing-type-2-diabetes/diabetes-risk-factors
The Diabetes Prevention Programme in North Cumbria is a free local service offering advice and support to people at high risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. The programme aims to stop or delay the onset of diabetes through a range of different personalised strategies. If you think you are at risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, talk to your General Practice team who can offer you further advice and refer you to the Diabetes Prevention Programme if this is appropriate for you.