Don’t underestimate the importance of a healthy lifestyle in managing diabetes

WDD 2018

To coincide with World Diabetes Day on 14 November, patients across south Lincolnshire are being reminded that a healthy lifestyle can reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, as well as helping to protect against vascular disease, such as heart attack or stroke.  They are also being warned about the risk of pre-diabetes.

More than 200,000 people are diagnosed every year with type 2 diabetes, meaning they risk serious health complications and early death.  However, the good news is type 2 diabetes can be prevented by making small lifestyle changes.

“The demands of modern life can make it challenging to be healthy, but managing your weight, eating healthily and being more active can make a big impact on your future health,” explains Dr Uma Balasubramaniam, GP and Medical Advisor, South Lincolnshire Clinical Commissioning Group.

“Diabetes is a leading cause of vision loss and blindness in people of working age.  It is also responsible for most cases of kidney failure and lower limb amputation (other than accidents), and people with diabetes are up to five times more likely to develop heart disease or have a stroke than those without diabetes.”

Whilst many of us are aware of the importance of blood sugar control in diabetes, other factors, including high blood pressure and cholesterol, are also very important when trying to reduce the risk of complications.  Healthier lifestyle choices can reduce the risk of developing complications – in addition to regular exercise, eating a healthy diet and keeping to a correct weight, not sitting down for too long, avoiding salt and processed foods and not drinking too much alcohol can all help. “Anything you can do to reduce your risk of developing type 2 diabetes and improve your vascular health is important.  Stopping smoking, maintaining a healthy weight by avoiding sedentary behaviour and remaining fit and active, with regular exercise, as well as a healthy balanced diet may help reduce your risk of developing type 2 diabetes and also help protect against vascular disease,” comments Dr Balasubramaniam.

Something else to be aware of and which can cause confusion is pre-diabetes.  This is when you have blood sugar levels above the normal range but not high enough to be diagnosed as having diabetes.

“If your blood sugar level is above the normal range, your risk of developing full-blown diabetes is increased and this is pre-diabetes.  So it is very important for diabetes and/or the associated wanting signs to be diagnosed as early as possible because it will get progressively worse if untreated,” adds Dr Balasubramaniam.

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Updated 13/11/2018