Friday the 14th November was World Diabetes Day, which was set up by Diabetes UK to encourage everyone across the world to unite and take action to tackle diabetes.
I have a personal interest in diabetes, having a strong family history of it.
Diabetes is a common lifelong health condition, where the amount of glucose in your blood is too high because the body cannot use it properly. There are two main types of diabetes – Type 1 and Type 2.
Type 1 diabetes is a risk factor that you can’t do anything about (after all, you can’t chose your genetic mum and dad!), however there are plenty things that we can do to prevent the onset of Type 2 diabetes.
Type 2 diabetes occurs when the body doesn’t produce enough insulin to function properly, or if the body’s cells don’t react to insulin. This is known as insulin resistance.
Type 2 diabetes is far more common than Type 1, which occurs when the body doesn’t produce any insulin at all. In the UK, about 90% of all adults with diabetes have Type 2.
So what can we all do to stop ourselves becoming a diabetic statistic?
It is really, really simple: we exercise, we control our weight, we don’t drink too much alcohol and we eat the right foods.
So why is it that we are seeing a rise in the incidence of diabetes? (It is predicted that there will 4.6 million diabetics in the UK by 2030.)
The answer is clearly much more complicated than I have told you. But is it? Or are we just not listening to the messages that we are being given? Personally, I think it is the latter.
The easy option is to carry on as we are and to face the future by burying our heads in the sand in the hope that it will never happen. Sadly, it will happen to many of us unless we do something now.
The main risk factor for Type 2 diabetes is being overweight and this is where we all need to take personal responsibility.
Interestingly there was a report on the radio this morning (20 November), and in the news, stating that obesity is currently costing this country £47 billion a year: a staggering amount of money.
When the Five Year Forward View was announced in October this year, the chief executive of the NHS, Simon Stevens, told us that, if we carry on as we are, by 2021 NHS funding faces a shortfall of £30 billion.
So, to me it’s a no brainer: we all need to control our weight. Not only will we be healthier but we’ll be wealthier as well.
I’m off for a game of tennis.