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Thursday 7 April is World Health Day; this year the campaign aims to increase awareness about the rise in diabetes around the globe and help people understand risk factors and prevention methods.
There are two main types of diabetes: type 1 is characterised by a lack of insulin production, while type 2 results from the body’s ineffective use of insulin. 90 per cent of all diabetes cases worldwide are type 2.
This year, diabetes is the focus of the World Health Organisation’s campaign because it’s a preventable disease that’s on the rise; about 350 million people worldwide have diabetes, and that number is likely to double in the next 20 years.
Better education about the disease, healthy eating and regular physical activity are a strong defence against it.
While it’s not possible to eliminate every risk – age, ethnicity and genetics all factor – there are many things you can do to reduce your chance of developing type 2 diabetes.
Just thirty minutes of moderate-intensity activity on most days and a balanced diet that avoids foods high in fat and sugar will help keep your risk of developing diabetes relatively low.
Weight is also a factor; people with a body mass index of 25 or above are at an increased risk, as well as those with a high waist measurement (31.5 inches for women, 37 inches for white or black men, 35 inches for Asian men). By losing excess weight you can also lower your risk.
The main symptoms of type 1 and type diabetes are the same, but in the case of type 2 the symptoms can be mild and develop gradually, sometimes over a number of years. They are:
For many, type 2 diabetes is diagnosed during a routine check-up. Some people go years without realising they have it, but early diagnosis is critical to reducing your risk of developing complications later in life.
If you’re experiencing any symptoms or are concerned about your health, book in for an appointment at YourGP. Our expert medical teams in Edinburgh and Aberdeen can carry out a quick blood test to measure the level of sugar in your blood and provide the results the next working day.
Our specialist team is ready to work with you to lower your risk of diabetes or help with treatment, including managing lifestyle factors, if you’ve already been diagnosed. Our Edinburgh-based nutritional therapist Anne Cross, can also help navigate how to eat properly when you have diabetes or blood sugar problems.
Doctors and reception staff are always incredibly accommodating and polite. Can’t recommend enough!