Prevalence of Diabetes
Worryingly the UK rates of diabetes are the worse in Europe! Currently 3.2 million people in the UK have diabetes and even more worryingly the numbers are rising considerably with 1 in 10 estimated to be diagnosed with the condition by 2030.
This obviously has big health implications for the people who are soon to have diabetes but also a drain on the NHS with these escalating numbers. Current budget for diabetes is £10 billion/year but by 2050 with an estimated 98% rise in diabetes prevalence, this will be at a cost to the UK of £50 billion per year. This is looking like we are creating a diabetic money pit, which we will never be able to fund. Very worrying times for the potential patients becoming diabetic but also the government and the UK tax payer as the money has to come from somewhere to pay for this.
Shockingly, 80% of diabetic budget goes on treating avoidable complications. So is it time for us, as in the UK population, to stop blaming everybody and everything else for our health and start to take responsibility for ourselves to prevent this growing epidemic? Afterall, it will be our health and our pockets that will suffer.
I am not suggesting that the government, food industry and health professionals should not be taking this seriously too but at some point we as a nation need to step up and make positive changes for the sake of our own health. This could be in the form of cooking more homemade food so you can control what you eat, eating the right stuff, plus making a positive change to do more activity, even if it is standing whilst you work on the computer instead of sitting all day. Every little bit helps.
What’s disconcerting is that at this moment, 1 million people in the UK have Type 2 diabetes and don’t even know about it yet. Do you have any of the following symptoms, if so get them checked out to prevent further complications and feel better:-
· passing urine more often than usual, especially at night
· increased thirst
· extreme tiredness
· unexplained weight loss
· genital itching or regular episodes of thrush
· slow healing of cuts and wounds
· blurred vision
Why not check your risk score for diabetes at http://riskscore.diabetes.org.uk/2013.
So what can I do to help prevent diabetes?
Weight loss reduces the risk of Type 2 diabetes, for every 1Kg body weight lost it reduces your risk of diabetes by 16%. In fact a Study looked at the benefits of Intensive lifestyle Interventions (weight loss, Healthy Eating, Physical Activity) versus metformin tablets and found the Intensive lifestyle group had a reduced risk of Type 2 diabetes by 58%, compared to the metformin group who had a reduced risk of 31%. Hence lifestyle is more effective, cheaper, and no need for medication. Surely a bit of focus and effort is worth this increased benefit with no side effects from the drugs?
But note that you do not have to be obese to still have diabetes as it depends on the hidden fat found in your liver also. So just because you don’t believe your overweight , if your liver is fat, you can still be diabetic.
So what foods effect diabetes risk?
Increased risk of diabetes is seen from:
· high saturated fats,
· red & processed meat (>70g/d),
· fried potatoes
· white rice
Whereas the following foods help prevent Type 2 Diabetes:-
· Wholegrains (these can also help reduce cholesterol by 2-3%, which in turn will help people with diabetes)
· Low GI foods,
· Calcium from low fat dairy foods,
· Green leafy vege,
· Moderate red wine
· Omega-3 fatty acids (found mainly in fish) beneficial to diabetics
· Nuts beneficial to diabetics so long as overall calories per day are not increased
· High cocoa solid chocolate ok for diabetics.
· Plant sterols helpful to diabetics and the rest of population to help lower
· Mediterranean Diet
Beneficial Lifestyle factors include:-
1) US AHEAD study showed that weight loss helped people gain better glycaemic control, which in turn helps with diabetes.
2) In addition to diet, exercise is very beneficial, particularly resistance & aerobic exercise for people with diabetes Type 2
3) Lower blood pressure
Did you know now that there is a good chance you can reverse diabetes?
There is good evidence now showing that the majority of patients with diabetes can now reverse this using Very low calorie diets (VLCD) of 600kcal/day for 8 weeks but its probably best to use a nutritionally complete formula over an 8 week period when aiming to reverse diabetes to prevent malnourishment as obtaining these few calories from diet alone is unlikely to provide the full range of micronutrients and nutrients needed for good health.
Additional note, 1 egg per day is fine for the normal population but if diabetic it may be best to reduce this due to cholesterol content. As we know dietary cholesterol is pretty insignificant to the general population’s health as generally removed by the body but diabetics maybe more sensitive.
In addition to Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes, there is also one developed by some women during pregnancy called Gestational diabetes and this is seen at 20-28 weeks gestation in 3.5% of pregnant women in the UK. Sadly, If you had gestational diabetes you are at increased risk of diabetes later in life. But you can prevent this if you take action now!