Having a poor diet is the world's deadliest health risk, accounting for a fifth of all deaths because of its links to heart disease, cancer and diabetes.
Diabetes affects 4.7 million people in the UK with more than 290,000 in the East Midlands and many others undiagnosed.
Do you know the signs of Type 2 diabetes and would you know how to manage it if you were diagnosed?
What causes Type 2 diabetes?
Insulin is a hormone in our bodies that controls glucose levels in our blood.
Insulin breaks down glucose in the body and allows it to move from our blood cells to the body's tissues, such as muscle cells, when we need a quick energy hit.
But Type 2 diabetes disrupts this process.
Your body can no longer control the amount of glucose in your blood as your body is unable to respond to insulin properly. Your body continues to break down carbohydrate from your food and drink as normal, and turn it into glucose which the pancreas attempts to regulate by releasing insulin.
But as the insulin is not working properly, glucose levels keep rising and more insulin is released in a bid by your body to control it, causing a spike in blood sugar levels.
What are the symptoms?
Be aware that many people with Type 2 diabetes do not get any symptoms or they don’t notice them.
- Needing to go to the toilet more than usual, particularly at night
- Feeling thirsty all the time
- Feeling very tired
- Losing weight without trying to
- Itching around the genitals or repeatedly getting thrush
- Cuts or wounds taking longer to heal
- Blurred vision
How do you manage Type 2 diabetes?
The effects of diabetes can be managed with the right treatment and care, the symptoms can even be reversed in some cases.
- Healthier eating with regular meals, three times a day is recommended to keep your blood sugar levels under control. Include carbohydrates, such as whole-wheat pasta or potatoes in each meal
- Being more active: UK Chief Medical Officers’ guidelines state that physical activity can reduce your chance of Type 2 diabetes by up to 40%. Diabetes UK recommend 150 minutes (2.5 hours) each week of moderate- to vigorous-intensity physical activity for adults between 19 and 64. Activity can be spread out through the day into bite-size chunks, eg 30 minutes, 5 days a week and includes walking to the bus stop or using the stairs instead of the lift
- Losing weight - obesity is linked to Type 2 diabetes.
Diabetes UK is urging people over the age of 40 to go for a free NHS Health Check when they are invited, and to check their risk of developing Type 2 diabetes using the charity’s online tool.
For more advice on how to manage Type 2 Diabetes, visit Diabetes UK.