World Diabetes Day
World Diabetes Day was started in 1991 and falls on 14th November each year. This initiative of the International Diabetes Federation is helping to increase awareness about diabetes and reduce its impact on patients and society as a whole.
Diabetes affects almost 5 million people in the UK, and it is thought that up 1 million people may be living with diabetes but haven’t yet been diagnosed. In addition, over 13 million are at risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
More than 90% of patients with diabetes have what is called type 2 diabetes, which, in the majority of cases, is directly related to weight and lifestyle. The increase in this type of diabetes over the past 30 years has directly paralleled the rise in obesity.
The clear message from these figures is that we need to act.
It’s very easy to say that weight and lifestyle are the cause, but that is far to general to be of any use. We need something more specific.
Why do diet and body weight predispose to diabetes?
We now live in what is called an “obesogenic environment,” with an excess availability of food, particularly of unhealthy, addictive food.
Studies by the University of Michigan and by Yale University, among others, have shown that foods with approximately one-third fat to two-thirds carbohydrate are among the most addictive. The addictiveness of foods is further enhanced by processing, which can alter the concentration of individual nutrients and influence their rate of absorption. You might not be surprised to learn that certain sectors of the food industry, especially the fast-food sector, have used these findings to boost their sales, without a thought for your health.
Food handling by the body is controlled by hormones; those same hormones control our appetite and metabolism. Insulin is the main hormone that controls sugar in the blood. Eating ultra-processed foods, full of sugars that are rapidly absorbed, drives insulin levels ever higher and leads to a state called insulin resistance. This is when the cells in the body stop responding adequately to the insulin signals.
When insulin cannot carry out its function correctly, it is not going to control the levels of sugar in your blood and, eventually, your blood sugar levels will rise persistently above the normal range. This is type 2 diabetes.
Increased body weight can also provoke insulin resistance. This happens because fat becomes inflamed as we gain weight. The immune cells produce chemicals that maintain this inflammation and spread it to other areas of the body. These chemicals can make cells resistant to the action insulin, leading to insulin resistance and eventually to diabetes.
What lifestyle factors predispose to diabetes?
Numerous lifestyle factors – not just a poor diet and lack of exercise – can affect your risk
Lack of exercise: A sedentary lifestyle
is probably the most important lifestyle factor related to type 2 diabetes, after the diet, and it is one of the easiest to change. If we don’t exercise, we will lose muscle and the remaining muscle becomes less sensitive to insulin. A correct exercise plan can reverse these changes and play a very important role in the prevention and control of diabetes.
The stress hormone, cortisol, increases resistance to insulin. It is also thought to reduce the ability of the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas to produce enough of the glucose-controlling hormone, both of which will predispose to developing diabetes.
Lack of sleep:
A good night’s sleep has been shown to reduce the risk of many illnesses, including diabetes.
Smokers can be up to 40% more likely to develop diabetes. Also, nicotine interferes with insulin action, making diabetes treatment more difficult.
What can you do?
How to reduce your risk of developing diabetes:
If you are overweight, make sure you get professional help, not only to lose weight but also to make sure you get quality weight loss, by which I mean “lose fat, not muscle.” It’s not just a matter of eating less and moving more; a healthy diet means you eat the right foods at the right times as part of a holistic diet and lifestyle programme. And each person is different, so make sure to get help from someone who doesn’t have fixed ideas about what makes a healthy diet. See someone who is willing to find what is best for you.
If you haven’t been exercising regularly, it’s time to get started. Again, professional help is to be recommended, and you should get a medical evaluation before starting if you have joint problems or medical issues or if it has been a long time since you last did regular exercise. A balance of resistance exercise and cardio will give you the greatest advantage. Exercise most days of the week, with a minimum of 30 minutes each time. You really want to be getting a total of at least 2 to 3 hours a week.
Also, after exercising, don’t then just sit around the rest of the day. If you work at a desk or in front of a computer, get up and walk about for a few minutes every hour. Perhaps do some star jumps.
Get control of your life:
Easily said. But that doesn’t mean it’s not important.Give yourself time to relax. If you don’t sleep well, there are lots of things you can do to improve night-time rest and reduce daytime sleepiness.
Get out of the house for a walk in the country. In the UK we are blessed with cities that have lots of parks, so even if you live in an urban setting, you will usually have a green space nearby. Just seeing trees and green spaces has been shown to improve our health parameters.
This is one of the most difficult decisions to accomplish because of the addictive power of nicotine. However, not just for weight control and risk of diabetes, but for so many other illnesses, including very serious ones like cancer and heart disease, it really will be one of the best decisions you could take. And think of the financial saving!
If you have type 2 diabetes:
In this case, all the above apply, but there is a greater degree of urgency. Every day that your blood sugar is not well controlled is another day of increasing the risk of complications of diabetes and of the side effects of the medication.
Recent studies have shown that quality weight loss can really improve or even resolve diabetes, with a possibility of stopping diabetes medication. To do that, you need to lose more weight than most people can achieve with typical “high-street diets.” We are talking now about very low calorie diets, with or without ketosis, to ensure you achieve the weight loss you need before you get bored or lose motivation. Finding the diet that suits you and that you can stick to is essential to complete your weight-loss journey.
And all this must be integrated into a comprehensive lifestyle programme designed to reset your metabolism and reduce inflammation. A new diet, regular exercise and stress control, adapted to your new situation of body weight and health, need to become part of daily life for you to maintain long-term success.
YOU CAN DO IT!
Get professional help now and discover your best approach to achieve healthy weight loss with long-term maintenance. Call Dr Bazire for information: 07702 737367