A new survey by Bupa has revealed that 68% of people tend to assume that nothing is wrong with them, even if they have what they consider to be 'minor symptoms' of type 2 diabetes.
With over 850,000 people in Britain thought to have undiagnosed diabetes, the private healthcare service is trying to raise awareness so that people take a look at their lifestyles and visit their GP if in doubt that they may be at risk.
HuffPost UK Lifestyle spoke to Dr Tim Woodman, a medical director at Bupa who said: "Most people seem to be are aware of what leads to type 2 diabetes, for example their lifestyle choices, but 54% of people say they ignore the long-term health consequences.
"They are also mindful of the symptoms, and over a third (35%) of people say they have symptoms linked with Type 2 diabetes. But worryingly we found that over two thirds (68%) of people assume nothing is wrong and will not visit a doctor if they have what they consider to be ‘minor’ symptoms, commonly associated with Type 2 diabetes- which is a must."
Some of the symptoms of diabetes include feeling tired and thirsty, and Dr Woodman highlights that the problem with this is that it comes on gradually, so most people don't notice it comes on at all.
But aside from symptoms, the survey also unearthed the worrying fact that a staggering 89% of Brits make lifestyle choices that greatly increase the chance of diabetes. These included eating a lot of sugary foods and not doing enough exercise.
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In addition to helping lower levels of bad cholesterol, avocados destroy cancerous and precancerous cells, according to "The Longevity Kitchen."
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Drinking more than <a href="http://www.sciencenews.org/view/generic/id/340733/description/Coffee_gives_jolt_to_life_span">two cups a day of coffee</a> may help you live longer by offering protection against respiratory problems and heart disease.
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Garlic may not be good for your breath, but it does help prevent damage to blood vessels, wrote the authors of "The Longevity Kitchen."
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'The Longevity Kitchen'
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There are several risk factors, says Dr Woodman.
- You are over 40 (or over 25 if you are South Asian)
- You have a close family member with diabetes (parent, brother or sister)
- You are overweight, with a large waist size (over 80cm (31.5 inches) for women, 94cm (37 inches) for men, or 89cm (35 inches) for South Asian men)
- Being South Asian, Black African, African Caribbean – even if you were born in the UK
- You have ever had high blood pressure, a heart attack or a stroke
- You're a woman with polycystic ovary syndrome and overweight
- f you're a woman and you've had gestational diabetes or given birth to a baby over 10 pounds
He adds: "Type 2 diabetes can sometimes be hereditary, so if a close member of your family has the conditions you should have regular check ups. While some risk factors such as age, gender and ethnicity can't be changed – making lifestyle changes can dramatically reduce your risk.
"We know that up to 80% of cases of Type 2 diabetes can be delayed or prevented, and risk can be reduced by up to 60% after making some basic lifestyle changes. If you are overweight, every kilogram you lose could reduce your risk by up to 15%. Be more conscious of your diet and exercise – small changes can make a big difference."
SYMPTOMS OF TYPE 2:
- feeling very thirsty
- urinating frequently, particularly at night
- feeling very tired
- weight loss and loss of muscle bulk
- itchiness around the vagina or penis, or regular bouts of thrush (a yeast infection)
- blurred vision that is caused by the lens of your eye becoming very dry
- skin infections
Source: NHS.UK/Diabetes UK
Use Sugar-Free Substitutes
One option, and perhaps the most popular, is to eat or drink the sugar-free versions of your favourite sugary foods and beverages, like soda. When it comes to dessert or a snack, sugar-free Jell-O is a “free” food in a type 2 diabetes diet that can give you a little sweetness. However, warns Dr. Hannon, some <a href="http://www.everydayhealth.com/healthy-recipes/sugar.aspx" target="_hplink">sugar substitutes might interfere with your ability to control blood sugars, so go easy on these products.</a>
Make Your Own Red Sauce
Canned or bottled tomato sauce is a key ingredient in many meals, from pizza to spaghetti, but using store-bought sauce in your dish may add a surprising amount of sugar. The answer is to <a href="http://www.everydayhealth.com/health-recipe/fresh-tomato-sauce.aspx" target="_blank">make your own simple sauce.</a> “Simmer canned, chopped tomatoes on the stove with herbs you like,” says Hannon. “Even if you add a teaspoon or two of sugar, it would still be less than in the bottle.” Another option is to simply blend store-bought sauce with canned tomatoes to reduce the amount of sugar in each portion.
Lose The Candy Jar
Is a candy jar part of your desk’s decor? What might be a welcoming treat for visitors can become a trap for you and your sugar habit. “If you take one piece in the morning, one later on, and so on, by the end of the day you may have eaten 10 pieces,” Hannon says. Moving the jar or getting rid of it entirely will help you limit your sugar intake and stick to your <a href="http://www.everydayhealth.com/diabetes/type2/managing/diabetes-dietary-goals.aspx" target="_blank">type 2 diabetes diet.</a>
Eat Whole Fruit
Sugar-sweetened fruit products like fruit roll-ups, fruit leather, and juice drinks give the illusion of being healthy options for a diabetes diet, but they really aren’t, says Hannon. Replace these choices with <a href="http://www.everydayhealth.com/type-2-diabetes/including-fruit-in-a-diabetes-diet.aspx" target="_blank">one serving of whole fruit</a> to satisfy your sugar cravings with a nutritious, reduced-sugar option. The great thing about fruit is that you can easily eyeball a serving — it’s about the size of a baseball.
Make Your Own Salad Dressing
Bottled salad dressings are surprisingly high in sugar or high-fructose corn syrup, says Hannon. But for many people, a tasty dressing enhances the pleasure of eating salad. Experiment with making your own dressings to limit the <a href="http://www.everydayhealth.com/healthy-recipes/healthy-salad-dos-and-donts.aspx" target="_blank">amount of sugar in your salad.</a> By using a homemade dressing, you’ll also be able to control other ingredients that affect your overall health as well as your diabetes, such as the type of oil you use or the amount of salt you add.
Avoid Flavoured Milk and Yogurt
Low-fat dairy products are good for people with type 2 diabetes, but skip those strawberry, chocolate, or vanilla varieties. Flavoured milk contains a lot of added sugar, Hannon notes. If you really want milk with a little added sweetness, experiment with mixing in sugar-free syrups or just use the smallest amount of a sugar-based one to get a little added flavor. Likewise, opt for <a href="http://www.everydayhealth.com/diabetes/greek-yogurt-in-the-diabetic-diet.aspx" target="_blank">plain yogurt and add your own chopped fresh fruit for a sweet taste.</a>
Make Your Own Trail Mix
Granola, a main staple in many trail mixes, could quickly top out your sugar quota for the day, especially if the mix also includes a touch of chocolate or sugary nuts. You can improve your diabetes numbers by <a href="http://www.everydayhealth.com/health-recipe/trail-mix.aspx" target="_blank">making your own trail mix</a> with plain nuts, oats, and some dried fruit — and by sticking to a reasonable serving of your treat.
Even seemingly healthy boxed breakfast cereals may contain sugar that you don’t really need or want in your daily diabetes meal plan. <a href="http://www.everydayhealth.com/type-2-diabetes/breakfast-ideas-for-diabetes.aspx" target="_blank">Look for breakfast choices that do not contain refined flours or added sugar.</a> For example, a slice of whole-grain toast with natural peanut butter and some fruit could be a good alternative. Beware of hidden sugar when eating out for breakfast. “Oatmeal at fast-food restaurants can be high in sugar,” warns Hannon.
Choose Whole Grains
A simple switch that can improve your diet is <a href="http://www.everydayhealth.com/weight/whole-grain-foods-better-nutrition-better-diet.aspx" target="_hplink">choosing whole-grain foods over refined flour ones,</a> such as whole-grain pasta instead of white pasta and whole-grain bread instead of white. Unfortunately, whole-grain alternatives are often costlier. In tight economies, it’s essential to look for supermarket sales that help you maximize food dollars, allowing you to continue to buy the building blocks of your healthy, low-sugar diabetes diet.
Think Portion Size
Remember that eating one small cookie won't hurt your diabetes diet. The key is to keep the portion small and consider other options available to you, such as fresh fruit or a handful of nuts, before you reach for the cookie. But if you do choose the sugarier treat, just keep the <a href="http://www.everydayhealth.com/diet-nutrition/portion-sizes.aspx" target="_hplink">portion reasonable, really savor it, and adjust your diet plan for the day accordingly.</a>