Over 12 million people in the country are at risk of developing type 2 diabetes, according to Diabetes UK. This serious condition can lead to chronic heart and kidney problems but it is thought that three out of five cases are avoidable.
It might not be easy breaking long term habits but doing so could make the all-important difference and prevent you from developing diabetes in later life.
Eating a healthy, balanced diet is a key preventative of diabetes. Making positive changes to your diet is especially important if you are currently eating a lot of foods high in refined carbs and sugar. These types of food can cause progressively higher levels of blood sugar and insulin, which can then lead to diabetes. Start by making small changes to your diet by introducing some healthier alternatives.
By moving around more, you can help to prevent diabetes in many ways. Not only can exercise help you to manage stress and sleep better, it can also help you to reduce your waist size and lower your blood pressure. Whether you elect to start a running regime or join a fitness class, you should aim for five 30 minute sessions of moderate exercise each week
Those of us with a lot of fat around our waist can be more likely to develop diabetes. This is because fat is likely to build up around the organs and cause insulin resistance, which can in turn lead to high blood sugar. If your waist size is above the healthy measurement, then you should look to reduce it by eating healthier and exercising more.
Smoking has been associated with a higher risk of type 2 diabetes because it can contribute to insulin resistance. Insulin is very important because it helps us to take in glucose from the blood and store it. Those who are more resistant can develop higher blood sugar levels. Quitting smoking can be a very positive change to help prevent diabetes and other diseases. If youâre struggling to kick the habit, seek out help.
Cut down alcohol intake
A high alcohol consumption can lead to weight gain and increased blood pressure and there is evidence to suggest that heavy drinking can lead to the development of diabetes. If you are a regular drinker of alcohol, aim to consume no more than 14 units a week.
Get a good nightâs sleep
If youâre suffering from disturbed sleep patterns and feeling that youâre not getting enough shut eye, this could increase your risk of developing diabetes. Research has shown a link between sleep deprivation and insulin resistance. Exercising regularly, sticking to a set bed time and ensuring your room is dark enough are all ways you can improve the quality of your sleep.
Get your blood pressure under control
Blood pressure can be kept at safe levels by maintaining a healthy weight, eating a healthy diet and taking regular exercise. According to Diabetes UK, there is a strong correlation between high blood pressure and diabetes, with those suffering from high blood pressure thought to have up to 70% higher risk of developing diabetes.
Avoid a sedentary lifestyle
Regardless of how much exercise you are taking at various points in the week, we are liable in modern times to spend a lot of our time being completely still during the day. If you work at a computer, try taking regular breaks from your desk and consider cycling or walking to work, instead of driving. The more we move around, the more effectively our bodies can use insulin and keep our blood sugar levels normal.
Make water your default drink
Many of us are guilty of drinking a lot of sugary beverages, which can significantly increase our diabetes risk levels. If you always opt for a fizzy drink when youâre out with friends or chug down energy drinks throughout the day, try making water your default choice and enjoy sugary drinks as an occasional treat instead.
Optimise your vitamin D levels
Direct sunlight on our skin helps our bodies to create vitamin D in the summer months. In the winter, we need to get this from foods such as oily fish, red meat or egg yolks or in a supplement form. As well as regulating the amount of calcium and phosphate in our bodies, research suggests that vitamin D can potentially decrease our bodyâs insulin resistance, hence decreasing our likelihood of developing diabetes.
YorkTest advise that you consult with your GP first if you are experiencing the types of symptoms mentioned in this blog post.