National Diabetes Week is here and with it comes a pause for reflection and a reminder that now, more than ever, more of us are either living with diabetes or know someone who is. With the rising incidence of obesity, obesity-related diseases such as diabetes are at the forefront of our minds and no more so than during this week.
Here we examine the condition more closely and how in some cases, losing weight can have a positive impact on not only the condition but on overall health and well-being.
What is diabetes?
Diabetes is the common term associated with a condition which affects the blood sugar levels within the body. There are two types: Type 1 and Type 2.
Type 1 Diabetes is most common amongst children and adolescents. It is usually a hereditary condition or occurs as a result of an extreme stress to the body such as a virus. Type 1 Diabetes affects the ability of the pancreas to create insulin. As a result, when blood sugar levels increase following a meal, insulin is not available to transport sugar from the blood to the working muscles. This form of diabetes can be treated with insulin injections for which a dose can be altered to reflect the ingestion of carbohydrate.
Type 2 Diabetes is more commonplace in adults, particularly in those who are overweight or obese. Other risk factors include age, genetics and even ethnicity, with 85% of all the adult cases of diabetes being Type 2 Diabetes. The increasing prevalence of diabetes in the UK has been linked to the increased number of cases of obesity. In cases of Type 2 Diabetes, the pancreas still produces insulin, however the body’s sensitivity to the hormone decreases and as a result, the transport of sugar from the blood to the working muscles becomes inhibited, leading to an increase in blood sugar levels and the associated complications. The treatment of Type 2 Diabetes usually involves a controlled diet to promote weight loss and medication.
Of all diabetic cases in the UK, 85% are Type 2 Diabetes and more often than not a result of obesity. In fact, the total number of people with diabetes in the UK has risen from 1.4m in 1996 to 3.2m in 2015.
It’s a staggering and sobering statistic and our changing diet and lifestyle habits are a major contributing factor to this prevalence.
What are the symptoms of diabetes?
The symptoms of diabetes can be very clear and if noticed in the early stages, this can often help with the diagnosis of the condition and serve to reduce the risks of suffering from associated complications.
Symptoms of diabetes include:
- Exaggerated and frequent feelings of thirst and hunger
- Extreme fatigue
- Blurry vision
- Cuts and bruises which heal more slowly
- Frequent urination
- Tingling, pain or numbness in the hands/feet
If you experience any of the above, a simple blood test at your local pharmacy or GP can be used to identify whether diabetes is the cause.
How to avoid diabetes
Unfortunately, Type 1 Diabetes cannot be avoided as it is either hereditary or as a result of an auto-immune response.
Type 2 Diabetes, the type that is becoming more prevalent year on year, is, however, avoidable.
Making these small changes to your lifestyle to maintain a healthy body weight can reduce your risk of suffering from Type 2 Diabetes:
- Reduce your body weight with a healthy diet plan
- Exercise more to help reduce body fat
- Reduce the intake of high-sugar foods
- Eat low Glycemic Index (GI) foods
Although a number of risk factors, such as age, ethnicity and family history cannot be changed, adopting a healthy lifestyle may, in fact, prevent up to 90% of Type 2 Diabetes cases.
Prevention really is better than cure in this instance.
Exante Diet and diabetes
Exante Diet offers a variety of flexible low-calorie and very-low-calorie diet plans where meal-replacement products are used to assist with weight loss or weight management to promote good health.
Highly nutritious, 3 Exante Diet products only on a day, will give you 100% of your RDAs of over 22 vitamins and minerals.
With a proven record of success, Exante Diet can be the ideal diet for achieving a normal body weight, leading to a decreased risk of Type 2 Diabetes and the associated complications.
As well as reducing the risk of becoming diabetic, Exante Diet can ease the pressures of managing diabetes. Providing low carb, calorie-controlled meals, Exante Diet takes away the stress of managing your carbohydrate intake which ultimately leads to increased blood sugar. If you use carb counting to calculate a dose of medication, as many Type 1 Diabetics do with their insulin, the clearly labelled packaging makes this an easier task at meal times.
If you want more information on how Exante Diet can help you prevent the onset of Type 2 Diabetes, head to our Social Media channels where you can get expert advice and guidance from our Nutritionist.