Type 2 diabetes is a growing national health concern that will see over 5 million people in the UK develop the condition by 2025. This particular version of diabetes accounts for 90% of all cases of diabetes, with the remaining 10% of sufferers having Type 1 diabetes or even rarer forms of the disease.
With someone diagnosed with diabetes every 2 minutes, it’s important to take a moment to understand this disease, how it develops, and learn about the potential effects it could have on your health if left unchecked.
What is the Difference Between Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes?
Type 2 diabetes is a serious health condition whereby the pancreas can’t make enough insulin to reduce your blood sugar, or cells no longer respond to the amount of insulin produced by your pancreas.
Whereas Type 1 diabetes occurs because the pancreas produces no insulin whatsoever and isn’t generally caused by external factors.
What Causes Type 2 Diabetes?
This disease is caused by having extremely high levels of blood sugar. Glucose (our main source of energy) is made by breaking down carbohydrates. Insulin is the hormone responsible for transporting the glucose to our cells so it can be utilised for energy.
If the insulin is inhibited in anyway then excess sugar builds up in your bloodstream as it cannot be transported to your cells to be used for energy. This build-up of sugar in the blood, if left unimpeded, leads to diabetes.
Although there are exceptions, Type 2 diabetes is generally caused by being overweight as a result of making poor nutritional and lifestyle choices.
By eating processed foods that are high saturated fats and refined sugars, you are increasing your chances of developing diabetes by continuing to increase your blood sugar levels. Lifestyle choices such as smoking or inactivity, also increase your chance of developing Type 2 diabetes.
What are the Symptoms of Type 2 Diabetes?
Not being able to provide enough glucose for your cells to operate optimally has a wide range of effects on your overall health.
Symptoms include needing to go to the toilet more often, feeling extremely thirsty, cuts and grazes taking longer to heal and increased rates of infections such as thrush. However, other individuals don’t notice any symptoms at all, which means some individuals go years, and even decades without being diagnosed. Over time, high blood sugar levels damage the function of the heart, eyes, and kidneys in particular. In fact, over 10,000 people a year have end stage kidney failure due to complications arising from diabetes, and more than 1500 have their eyesight seriously affected by the disease.
Worrying Diabetes Statistics and Trends
The UK is experiencing rather worrying trends with regards to diabetes and the statistics speak for themselves.
Below are just a few key statistics and trends reported by Diabetes UK that have negative connotations for our nation’s health as a whole:
- More than 500 patients with diabetes die prematurely every week
- Every week there are 169 amputations, 680 strokes and 530 heart attacks directly linked to diabetes
- The number of people diagnosed with diabetes has more than doubled in the last 20 years
- 1 in every 15 people have some form of diabetes
- 1 in 3 patients suffer complications with their eyes, feet, kidneys or nerves by the time they’re diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes
- More than half of Type 2 diabetes cases can be prevented or delayed
- Obesity is responsible for 80-85% of someone’s risk of developing Type 2 diabetes
Bearing these alarming figures in mind, it’s useful to know how to alter your lifestyle to prevent or reduce the possibility of developing Type 2 diabetes.
What Can You Do to Prevent Type 2 Diabetes
If you’ve been told you’re at risk of developing Type 2 diabetes or you’ve been diagnosed as pre-diabetic, there are several things you can do to lower the chance of contracting this disease.
Firstly, it’s best to make a start with your diet by cutting out any unhealthy foods that are high in sugar and saturated fats. Once you’ve done that, focus on good nutrition – eating more fruit, vegetables, whole grains, fish and lean meats as part of a well-balanced and varied diet.
Next, you can assess your current level of exercise. You should be getting at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise, 5 times a week. If that sounds like a lot, just start with 15 minutes of walking a per week day and gradually build from there.
By taking these steps to improve your diet and exercise, your overall health will improve, simultaneously lessening the risk of developing diabetes.
Reduce Your Chance of Developing Type 2 Diabetes Today
There are many steps you can take to improve your nutrition, exercise and overall health.
Just by cutting out unnecessary junk food and increasing your exercise to 5 times a week, you will likely witness weight loss, lowering your chance of contracting Type 2 diabetes.
If you need an extra nudge to start your health and fitness drive, why not download the DocHQ app where you can grab huge discounts on products from well-known health and nutrition brands such as Graze, Holland and Barrett, Gousto and many more!
What’s more, if you think you may have some of the symptoms associated with Type 2 diabetes, you can use the in-app symptom checker. Visit your doctor to decide on next steps.
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