What is diabetes?
Diabetes is a condition where someone has too much glucose – a type of sugar – in their blood. When people don’t have diabetes their blood sugar levels are controlled by insulin produced in their pancreas. If someone has diabetes, they’re either not producing insulin, or the insulin they do produce can’t work properly or there isn’t enough of it. As a result, sugar builds up in their blood and can’t get into the cells of their body where it’s used for fuel. Too much sugar in the blood can lead to sight loss, amputation, kidney failure, stroke and death (Diabetes UK).
12.3 million people are at risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes in the UK.
What are the risk factors?
- Being overweight – particularly if you carry your weight around your middle
- Having a high sugar, high carbohydrate diet
- Having a close family member with diabetes
- Increased age – we are more likely to get diabetes as we get older
- Being black or of South Asian heritage
- Having high blood pressure
What are the symptoms?
60% of people have had no symptoms prior to being diagnosed, but for others, symptoms could include:
- needing to urinate more than usual, particularly at night
- feeling thirsty all the time
- feeling very tired
- losing weight without trying to
- itching around your penis or vagina, or repeatedly getting thrush
- cuts or wounds taking longer to heal
- blurred vision
GPs will take a blood test and may measure both your blood glucose levels and your HbA1C levels. HbA1C is a marker which measures your average blood sugar levels over the last 2 -3 months and can give a better insight into blood sugar management than simple blood glucose levels which could just reflect how your body is responding to your last meal. A healthy person will have an HbA1C reading of less than 42mmol/mol. Pre-diabetes is diagnosed when levels are between 43 and 47mmol/mol and a reading of greater than 48mmol/mol would indicate diabetes.
Thankfully, Type 2 Diabetes is a largely preventable disease. I have worked with a number of clients to reduce their blood glucose and HbA1C levels through diet and lifestyle changes in order to avoid becoming diabetic.
Testimonial from a happy client
“I was diagnosed with Diabetes Type 2 and my GP wanted me to lose weight as a means of lowering my blood sugar levels which were 7.8 at the time. A friend recommended that I see Emily for nutritional advice and weight loss. Emily was very patient and answered the many questions I had about my condition, specifying food portions and combinations, and pointing out where I had gone wrong for so many years. She also explained to me in detail the significance of the various blood tests performed by my GP prior to being diagnosed as a diabetic. She was very knowledgeable. I’ve found that there is not much she does not know when it comes to nutrition, diet, exercise, relaxation, supplements and alternative therapies. In three months, I have lost 6 kilos, 10cms from my waist and 10% of my body fat. My hydration and energy levels have gone up whilst my fasting blood sugar levels have returned back to being normal at 6.0”
Mrs A, Ealing
My top tips for reducing your risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes are:
- Reduce the amount of sugar in your diet. Keep a food diary and identify where your sugar intake comes from and start working on reducing your consumption
- Reduce your intake of fast releasing carbohydrates (anything made from white flour, bread, pasta, rice, potatoes)
- Eat protein at every meal and snack
- Start exercising and be active every day