DIABETES is a life-long condition that affects around 3.5 million Brits.
It’s a condition caused by high levels of glucose – or sugar – in the blood, but it is avoidable.
Glucose levels are so high because the body is unable to properly use it.
In people diagnosed with diabetes, their pancreas doesn’t produce any insulin, or not enough insulin.
Insulin is a hormone typically produced by the pancreas and allows glucose to enter the cells in the body, where it’s used for energy.
While type 1 diabetes, is an auto-immune disease that can’t be cured or prevented, type 2 is linked to lifestyle factors, namely obesity.
Type 2 diabetes accounts for between 85 and 95 per cent of all cases of the condition, according to Diabetes UK.
It develops when the insulin-producing cells in the body are unable to produce enough insulin.
Those who are obese, eat a poor diet, drink more and are over 40 are at greater risk of the condition.
Here’s how you can reduce your risk…
1. Get more exercise
You’ve heard it over and over again, but exercise is a vital part of a healthy lifestyle.
Studies have shown that those who exercise more have better levels of insulin sensitivity, meaning your cells don’t have to produce as much for your body to use.
If your body becomes less insulin sensitive, or even insulin resistant, then you’re more at risk of diabetes.
You should be aiming for at least 30 minutes of exercise five days a week, health bosses say.
A mixture of metabolic exercise, such as running or cycling, combined with two sessions of strength training is the most effective way to remain healthy.
Regular exercise can reduce your risk of major illness like heart disease, stroke and cancer by up to 50 per cent, while also warning off mental illness and Alzheimer’s.
2. Get enough sleep
It’s hardly surprising, given our busy lifestyles, that many of us aren’t getting enough sleep.
We should be aiming for between seven and nine hours a night, but it’s easy to let that slip every now and then.
A lack of sleep is associated with eating more unhealthy food, getting less exercise and a higher risk of type 2 diabetes.
Experts from Toho University Graduate School of Medicine in Japan recently discovered that losing just one night’s sleep was enough to increase your risk of diabetes.
In tests on mice, those who were sleep deprived for six hours had higher levels of fat and glucose (sugar) in the liver and higher blood sugar levels.
High fat levels in the liver are associated with with insulin-resistance, or the body’s inability to process the hormone properly.
Insulin-resistance is one of the first markers for type 2 diabetes.
3. Less carbs, more fat
A recent study found that replacing carbohydrates with unsaturated fats could improve insulin sensitivity in some people.
The 2012 study looked at how different fad diets impacted insulin sensitivity in adults with high blood pressure.
It concluded eating a diet low in carbs and high in unsaturated fats for six weeks may reduce the risk of diabetes.
Especially when compared to a high carb diet or a diet that replaces some carbs with protein.
High blood pressure is a risk factor for the disease.