Prevention Medicine- Type 2 Diabetes

There are currently 3.4 million diagnosed sufferers of type 2 Diabetes in the UK, predicting to rise to 5 million by 2025. 

If left un treated Type 2 diabetes can lead to: Heart disease, blindness, kidney failure, stroke and other life - threatening conditions. BUT there is good news....by embarking on necessary lifestyle changes you can reduce symptoms and long term health damage.
80% of ALL cases can be prevented or delayed, which is great news. 

So what is the difference between type 1 and type 2 diabetes?
Type 1 diabetes occurs when your body cannot produce insulin, which controls the amount of glucose (sugar) in your blood. Daily injections of glucose are needed to maintain blood sugar control. Typically Type 1 diabetes is diagnosed in earlier years of life and is not related to diet or lifestyle. 
Type 2 diabetes develops when your body can still make some insulin, but not enough, or it may not be working effectively. Type 2 diabetes is associated with lifestyle and diet choices, meaning that with some changes it is possible to reverse/reduce the effects. 
It is estimated that around 7 million people have 'pre diabetes' which means you have higher levels of glucose in the blood and an increase risk in developing diabetes. 

Spotting the signs:
Type 2 diabetes can come on slowly (usually after years of poorly managed blood sugars.) The indications are not always obvious. Symptoms may include: need to urinate more frequently (often at night), being thirstier than normal, or having extreme tiredness/fatigue.
Other symptoms include weight loss, blurred vision, genital itching, or delayed wound healing. 

Risk factors include: Being overweight, family history of type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and being over the age of 40. 
The success rate to prevent/ reverse type 2 diabetes is high which should give lots of people hope. Here are some lifestyle and diet changes that can help you on your journey.

  1. Maintain a healthy weight  - For an overweight individual, losing weight can help reduce their risk by 50%. Reducing calories, alcohol & processed foods, increasing fruit, vegetables, plant protein and complex carbohydrates can be an effective and realistic change helping to set you up for success.
  2. Fibre - Research shows the higher the fibre in the diet, the lower the chances of developing type 2 diabetes are. Fibre rich foods promote satiety, keeping you fuller for longer and release glucose slowly into the blood stream. Porridge, lentil dhal, chickpea stews are all great examples of high fibre meals. Make sure to keep your vegetable intake to a high including lots of variety and colour. The fibre gets broken down into chemicals called Short-Chain-Fatty-Acids (SCFA) which act as food for our beneficial bacteria within the gut.
  3. Moderate Carbohydrates - Simple switches can make a massive impact. Have a go at swapping refined white carbohydrates for vegetables such as cauliflower, broccoli, carrots and courgette. Choose slow releasing carbohydrates such as wholegrain bread, sweet potato, oats, brown rice. This means that glucose is release slowly into the blood stream, meaning that the pancreas does not have to consistently pump out insulin to control the high amount of sugar within the blood. 
  4. Reduce your intake of Saturated fats - High cholesterol levels  (high LDL ) are also associated with type 2 diabetes, blood clots, heart attacks and stoke. As a rule of thumb reducing things high in saturated fats such as butter, margarine, & red meat and replacing them with unsaturated fats such as oil fish (mackerel, salmon, sardines), avocados, nuts, seeds, olive oil can help to lower risk.
  5. Move more - boosting your fitness levels is beneficial, not only in the management of pre-diabetes but for over all health. Aim to do around 20-30 minutes movement per day. This could be an activity such as walking, gardening, or cleaning. Make sure you are getting your heart rate up a bit, so do each activity with purpose. Fitness classes are also a great way to get fit, meet other people and have fun. 
  6. It is about making new habits that will work with your lifestyle.
I hope you find this useful, and feel free to drop me a message if you would like a personalised approach. 

Love H x