Diabetes Awareness Week runs from Sunday 14 June to Saturday 20 June, and aims to teach people how to prevent and manage the condition.
Around 3.2 million people in the UK have diabetes, with many more still undiagnosed. Of these, 90 per cent of cases are type-2 diabetes, a largely preventable form, which is more likely to develop in later life; particularly as a result of carrying excess weight and an unhealthy lifestyle.
Adults with diabetes are more likely to suffer from heart disease or stroke than people without the condition, so it’s important for them to manage their weight, blood pressure and blood glucose levels.
Heart Research UK have shared some simple tips to pass on to customers:
- ‘Eat a balanced diet’ – a diet low in sugar, saturated fat and salt helps to keep blood glucose, blood pressure and weight in check. This doesn’t have to be expensive; fresh, frozen, canned and dried fruits and vegetable all count and can help to lower blood pressure and cholesterol and are full of helpful antioxidants.
- ‘Maintain a healthy weight’ – cutting down the amounts eaten can sometimes be tricky, so advise a switch to healthier foods that are naturally low in calories. People with diabetes are advised to eat small, frequent balanced meals to manage blood glucose levels.
- ‘Watch your waist’ – Advise people to keep their waist measurement below 32 inches for a woman or 37 inches for a man. People should take extra care if they are ‘apple’ shaped to keep their waistline under control by reducing intake of extra sugar and saturated fat and moving more.
- ‘Get active’ – At least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity is recommended each week: the same as just 30 minutes of cycling or brisk walking on five days of the week. People who do regular exercise have a lower risk of developing heart disease, type 2 diabetes, stroke and cancer.
- ‘Get checked’ – get regular health checks and take steps to keep a healthy blood pressure and control your cholesterol levels. If they’re aged between 40 and 74 you are eligible for an NHS health check every five years so make sure you go along and get to know your numbers.
- ‘Drink sensibly’ – Advise people to keep within the recommended maximum intake of 14 units of alcohol per week for women and 21 units for men. Remind them to pace themselves when out with friends, alternating soft drinks with an alcoholic drink and aim for at least three alcohol free days each week. Alcohol is high in calories and can lead to excess weight gain, normally around the middle, adding up to an increased risk of diabetes and heart disease.