More than 4.5 million people living in the UK have diabetes and nine out of 10 of these cases are type-2 diabetes. It is caused by problems with a chemical in the body (hormone) called insulin. It’s also often linked to being overweight or inactive or having a family history of it.
There are some simple steps we can all take to help reduce the risk of developing it in later life.
If you or a loved-one aren’t already exercising, then now is the time to. It will not only help you feel better physically, but also mentally, and it will help you lose weight, which reduces your chances of developing diabetes. Regular exercise can reduce your risk of getting diabetes later in life by 64%.
Exercise also reduces the risk of heart disease or strokes and is proven to reduce and maintain normal blood pressure levels. It helps to maintain healthy arteries in our hearts, as well as maintaining cholesterol levels. Read more about the importance of exercise here.
Pilates is a very gentle exercise, so is great for those who might be slower and less mobile than others and can help reduce lower back pain, which more than 80% of the ageing population suffer with. You can read more about the benefits of pilates for the ageing population here.
Walking is also a great way to exercise, even if it is just for 15 minutes per day. It can help keep you active and improve your social life too. We recently blogged about the benefits of walking here.
Eat a well-balanced diet
Including lots of fruit and vegetables into your diet and eating items that are low in fat, sugar and salt is a great way to reduce cholesterol levels and in turn reduce your risk of diabetes. We put our top tips together for the elderly to eat well here.
Give up smoking and drinking alcohol
Smoking is a huge no-no when it comes to anybody’s general health and it not only increases blood pressure, which is known to be a major cause of diabetes, but it also puts you at risk of developing cancer and lung disease.
Excessively drinking alcohol can also increase the risk of developing type-2 diabetes as it makes you put on weight. It can also lead to chronic pancreatitis, which has a side effect of diabetes.
Many people can have diabetes without realising it as the symptoms don’t make you feel unwell. If you’re feeling more thirsty than normal, tired and are using the toilet more often, then these can be signs of diabetes starting to develop and you should seek medical advice from a doctor.