Diabetes is one of the most common health problems in the UK, affecting over 2.5 million people. And, as we age, the more likely we are to get it. But the good news is, by making some simple diet and lifestyle changes you can reduce your risk – without missing out on your favourite meals. Diabetes is caused when your body stops being able to produce insulin – a natural chemical that helps glucose move from your blood into your body cells, which then convert it into energy. There are two different types, with Type 2 being the most common, particularly among older people. Fortunately, unlike Type 1 diabetes, which cannot be prevented (and usually affects children or young adults), Type 2 diabetes is tied to conditions such as high blood pressure and obesity, which may be avoided by following a healthy lifestyle. You’re more likely to develop diabetes from the age of 40 if you’re from a Caucasian background, and from the age of 25 if you’re from an African-Caribbean, Chinese or South Asian background. It’s never too early (or too late) to look after your body – and everything you do adds up to lower your risk. Here are our three top tips for making small changes to reduce your chance of getting diabetes in later life. 1. A little exercise goes a long way Many of us spend too much time sitting, and not enough time being active. This can lead to becoming overweight, which increases your chances of developing high blood pressure and diabetes. One of the simplest ways to see if your size means you’re at risk is to measure your waist. Diabetes UK advises that people with the following measurements should think about losing weight:
- All women with a waist circumference of over 31.5 inches (80cm)
- Caucasian men with a waist circumference of over 37 inches (94 cm)
- African-Caribbean, Chinese and South Asian men with a waist circumference of over 35 inches (90 cm).