Type 2 diabetes is becoming a serious threat to the lives of many, not only here in the UK but worldwide too. According to leading diabetes charity Diabetes UK, 4 million people have been diagnosed and 90 per cent of these people have type 2 diabetes.
BMI Healthcare is the UK’s largest private hospital group and covers 115 different specialities and services. Dr. Jonathon Katz is a Consultant Endocrinologist, MBBChir, MD, FRCP, with a clinical interest in diabetes and a member of Diabetes UK. He explains the causes of type 2 diabetes:
“There is a national epidemic of type 2 diabetes, which is caused by a combination of weight gain and lack of exercise. There are some people who have a genetic predisposition to diabetes and if you have a family history of the disease, you are more likely to develop it yourself.
“The best way to avoid developing type 2 diabetes is through improving your diet and taking regular exercise. You should adopt a Low GI diet, which has 2 aspects; firstly encouraging you to eat Low GI carbohydrates which are slow to release sugar into the bloodstream; secondly, including plenty of salad and vegetables with your meals further slows the absorption of carbohydrates, making you feel full for longer and less likely to snack between meals.”
The key to living well with type 2 diabetes is understanding the condition. At Champneys, we offer diabetes health management programmes, which range from one day to one night retreats designed to help you make educated and informed lifestyle choices. But before you check into one of our spa resorts, let us take you through some of the commonly held beliefs about diabetes, separating the fact from fiction.
FACT VS. FICTION
Being overweight is a risk factor for type 2 diabetes
Fact: Obesity is one of several risk factors that could contribute to the development of type 2 diabetes. Although obesity increases the likelihood of developing the disease, high blood pressure, a family history of type 2 diabetes or leading a sedentary lifestyle can also lead to the onset of the disease.
Race and ethnicity is a risk factor
Fact: Those from a non-Caucasian background are 2-5 times more likely of developing type 2 diabetes.
Type 2 Diabetes isn’t serious
Fiction: Type 2 diabetes is a very serious condition and if left untreated can be life threatening. Complications of type 2 diabetes can include heart attack and stroke as well as nerve damage around the body, and blindness. Screening, and regular monitoring can prevent these.
Having Type 2 Diabetes means you’re not allowed to exercise
Fiction: Exercise can help control type 2 diabetes. It is advised that you talk through a personal exercise plan with your GP before taking to the gym or exercising.
Dr Jonathon Katz says: “You should exercise at least three times per week, choosing an exercise that increases your heart rate within a healthy range. If you have high blood pressure or a heart condition, you should seek medical advice before embarking on any exercise program. A personal trainer may be the best person to advise on what type of exercise suits you depending on your lifestyle and any physical constraints. If you have mobility issues such as arthritis, it could be walking or swimming – whatever suits you best, as long as your sit less and move more.”
Diabetes symptoms can become harder to recognise over time
Fact: The symptoms of type 2 diabetes can become harder to identify the longer it is left untreated. Symptoms include: drinking more water, going to the loo more than usual, unexplained weight loss, blurred vision and fatigue. Contact your GP if you experience any of these symptoms.
People with diabetes need to have insulin shots
Fiction: Insulin shots aren’t the only way of treating and controlling type 2 diabetes. Depending on your age and all-round health, your GP should consider which medication is right for you, after discussion. You may require lifestyle changes, oral medications or injectable therapies.
You can eat sweets if you have Type 2 Diabetes
Fact: Although type 2 diabetes means regulating your sugar intake, it doesn’t mean that you have to miss out on pleasing your sweet tooth. Alongside a personal diet plan you can eat the sweets you love in moderation.
Type 2 Diabetes is becoming more common in children and young people
Fact: Type 2 diabetes isn’t just a problem for older adults or those with underlying health issues. The disease is becoming more common in children too, with sugary foods and poor diets contributing to the rise in cases.