It’s World Diabetes day on 14 November and this month we are shining a light on diabetes awareness as well as sharing information on how this disease can be prevented.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Type 2 Diabetes can be prevented with healthy lifestyle changes, such as: losing weight, eating healthy food and being active. Read more here to find out the difference between Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes.
In a report for the International Diabetes Federation (IDF), Professor Ayesha Motala, Head of the Department of Diabetes and Endocrinology School of Clinical Medicine, University of KwaZulu-Natal says that “The increasing prevalence of diabetes in South Africa confirms diabetes is a significant challenge to the health and well-being of individuals and families in the country.”
“We have evidence that type-2 diabetes can often be prevented, while early diagnosis and access to appropriate care for all types of diabetes can avoid or delay complications in people living with the condition. Therefore we must do more to prevent type-2 diabetes, diagnose all forms of diabetes early and prevent complications,” says Motala.
Another form of diabetes to be aware of is Gestational diabetes. This develops in pregnant women who have never had diabetes. If you have gestational diabetes, your baby could be at higher risk for health problems. Gestational diabetes usually goes away after your baby is born. However, it increases your risk for type 2 diabetes later in life. Your baby is more likely to have obesity as a child or teen and develop type 2 diabetes later in life, according to the CDC.
What Can You Do To Prevent Diabetes?
Before developing type-2 diabetes, most people have prediabetes. This means their blood sugar is higher than normal but not high enough for a diabetes diagnosis. The good news is that prediabetes can be reversed.
If you have prediabetes, losing a small amount of weight if you’re overweight and getting regular physical activity can lower your risk for developing type-2 diabetes. A small amount of weight loss means around 5% to 7% of your body weight. Regular physical activity means walking briskly at least 150 minutes a week. That’s just 30 minutes a day, five days a week.
Speak to a dietician for a tailor-made eating plan that is sustainable for you and your family (also look up our library of healthy recipes at MedshieldMovement.co.za).
We cannot discount the negative impact of stress. Finding out how to manage stress and stay motivated is key to holistic, healthy living.
Until recently, it was fairly uncommon for young children or teens to get type-2 diabetes. Now, with an increase in overweight youth, there is a directly related increase in children who have type-2 diabetes, some as young as 10 years old, according to the CDC. Parents have the power to make healthy changes that give children the best chance to prevent type-2 diabetes, get started with healthy eating habits and get active.
If you are concerned that you or a family member may be at risk, speak to your medical advisor or healthcare professional for advice on life-changing preventative measures.