World Diabetes Day falls every year on 14 November. Millions of people around the world come together to raise awareness of diabetes, and what it’s really like to live with the condition. It’s a global campaign led by the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) with activity taking place around the world. This year Diabetes UK want everyone to know diabetes. So they are talking about the complications diabetes can lead to and how to avoid them.
The Down Low on Diabetes
There are two main types of diabetes, Type 1 and Type 2; Type 2 is the most common (90% of people diagnosed with diabetes will be Type 2). There are three main risk factors for developing type 2 diabetes:
- Age – being over the age of 40. (over 25 for people of south Asian, Chinese, African-Caribbean or black African origin, even if you were born in the UK)
- Genetics – having a close relative with the condition, such as a parent, brother or sister
- Weight – being overweight or obese
Preventing Type 2 diabetes is one of the UK’s biggest health challenges. The cost of treating diabetes now consumes 10% of the NHS’s annual £104bn budget. The theme of World Diabetes Day 2016 is ‘Eyes on Diabetes’. The year’s activities and materials focus on promoting the importance of screening to ensure early diagnosis of Type 2 diabetes and treatment to reduce the risk of serious complications like coronary heart disease, stroke, blindness and limb amputations.
How to Avoid Type 2 Diabetes
Exercising regularly and reducing your body weight by about 5% could reduce your risk of getting diabetes by more than 50%. A healthy diet and physical activity are the key to a healthy weight, but that doesn’t have to mean going on a strict diet and spending hours at the gym.
For most people, the easiest way to get moving is to make activity part of everyday life, like walking or cycling instead of using the car to get around. However, the more you do, the better, and taking part in activities such as sports and exercise will make you even healthier.
For any type of activity to benefit your health, you need to be moving quick enough to raise your heart rate, breathe faster and feel warmer. This level of effort is called moderate intensity activity. One way to tell if you’re working at a moderate intensity is if you can still talk but you can’t sing the words to a song.
If your activity requires you to work even harder, it is called vigorous intensity activity. There is substantial evidence that vigorous activity can bring health benefits over and above that of moderate activity. You can tell when it’s vigorous activity because you’re breathing hard and fast, and your heart rate has gone up quite a bit. If you’re working at this level, you won’t be able to say more than a few words without pausing for a breath.
As 2017 fast approaches ‘pause for breath’, look at what you’re eating, get more active, exercise more, take action, take control and reduce your risk of Type 2 diabetes!
For more information about Type 2 Diabetes and to undertake a quick Diabetes Health Assessment, take a look at the NHS website.