The most common form of diabetes is called Type 2 Diabetes, and whether or not you get this condition is largely under your control, ie. It is preventable. So, this is what we’ll be focusing on here.
FYI: Type 2 is ten times more common than the inherited form Type 1, which is something you are born with, and is inherited through your genes. If you get Type 1, all you can do is take care with your diet and control of your medication, under direction of your doctor.
The National Health Service says that in England: There are currently 3.4 million people with Type 2 diabetes with around 200,000 new diagnoses and 22,000 deaths every year. It’s a leading cause of preventable sight loss in people of working age and is a major contributor to kidney failure, heart attack, and stroke.
If you’re diagnosed with (Type 2) diabetes, your doctor will recommend actions to take, may put you on medication, and will want to test your blood periodically, to monitor progress. The doctor’s main concern may be not the diabetes itself, but the consequences. Having diabetes exposes you to higher risks of Alzheimer’s Disease, Cancer, Sight loss, and even in some cases amputation of feet.
So how to avoid Type 2 diabetes?
The Mayo Clinic in the USA gives these recommendations to prevent Type 2 Diabetes:
Diabetes prevention is as basic as eating more healthfully, becoming more physically active and losing a few extra pounds. It’s never too late to start. Making a few simple changes in your lifestyle now may help you avoid the serious health complications of diabetes in the future, such as nerve, kidney and heart damage. Consider these diabetes prevention tips from the American Diabetes Association.
• Get more physical activity
• Get plenty of fiber
• Go for whole grains
• Lose extra weight
• Skip fad diets and just make healthier choices
Australian “Health Direct” has these recommendations for prevention:
Type 2 diabetes results from a combination of genetic and environmental factors. The risk is greatly increased if you have high blood pressure, are overweight or obese, do insufficient physical activity or eat a poor diet.
You can help delay the onset of or even prevent getting type 2 diabetes by:
• Maintaining a healthy weight
• Regular physical activity
• Making healthy food choices
• Managing blood pressure
• Managing cholesterol levels
• Not smoking
My own impression from people I’ve known with diabetes is that sugar consumption is a key factor in the slide towards diabetes. So, my own suggestion is that an important first step in your diet is that if you are consuming a lot of sugar, then you should cut back as soon as you are able.
That includes sugar, honey, syrup, cakes, sweet biscuits, ice cream, sweetened breakfast cereals, sweet drinks (unless they are ‘diet’ versions), and takeaway meals with rich sauces (which are often loaded with salt and fat, as well as sugar).
It takes willpower, as for many people, the joy of a sugar rush is an almost irresistible temptation …
But it’s surely worth the effort, if you think of the potentially awful consequences of diabetes.
Mayo Clinic on prevention: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/type-2-diabetes/in-depth/diabetes-prevention/art-20047639
Mayo Clinic on diabetes and Alzheimer’s: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/type-2-diabetes/in-depth/diabetes-and-alzheimers/art-20046987
Australian “Health Direct”: https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/diabetes-prevention