Today, we’re diving into a topic that affects millions worldwide: Type 2 Diabetes. We’ll explore what it is, how it differs from Type 1 Diabetes, its prevalence, and most importantly, how you can take steps to prevent it. Let’s get started!

What is Type 2 Diabetes?

Type 2 Diabetes is a chronic condition that affects the way your body processes blood sugar (glucose). When you eat, your body breaks down food into glucose, which is then released into your bloodstream. In response, your pancreas produces insulin, a hormone that helps glucose enter your cells to be used for energy.

In Type 2 Diabetes, either your body doesn’t produce enough insulin or your cells don’t respond properly to insulin (a condition known as insulin resistance). This leads to high levels of glucose in the blood, which over time can cause serious health issues, such as heart disease, kidney damage, and nerve problems.

How is Type 2 Different from Type 1 Diabetes?

Great question! While both Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes involve problems with insulin, there are some key differences:

  • Type 1 Diabetes: This is an autoimmune condition where the body’s immune system attacks and destroys the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas. People with Type 1 need to take insulin every day because their bodies can’t produce it. It usually develops in childhood or adolescence, but it can appear at any age.
  • Type 2 Diabetes: This is more about the body’s ineffective use of insulin. It’s most often diagnosed in adults, but it’s increasingly seen in younger populations, including children and teenagers. Lifestyle factors, such as diet, physical activity, and weight, play a significant role in its development. One of the important differences is that type 2 can be prevented.


Prevalence of Type 2 Diabetes

Type 2 Diabetes is on the rise globally. According to the World Health Organization, over 422 million people worldwide have diabetes, and the vast majority of these cases are Type 2. Several factors contribute to this increasing prevalence, including:

  • Age: Risk increases as you get older, especially after age 45.
  • Genetics: Family history can play a role.
  • Ethnicity: Higher rates are seen in people of South Asian, African-Caribbean, and Black African descent.
  • Lifestyle: Poor diet, lack of physical activity, and being overweight are major risk factors.


How to Prevent Type 2 Diabetes

Type 2 Diabetes Diet: What to Eat and What to Avoid

The good news is that Type 2 Diabetes is largely preventable through lifestyle changes. Here are some practical tips to help you reduce your risk:

  • Eat a Healthy, Balanced Diet: Focus on eating plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats. Limit your intake of sugary foods and drinks, refined carbs, and processed foods.
  • Stay Active: Aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise per week. This can include brisk walking, cycling, swimming, or any activity that gets your heart rate up. Don’t forget to include strength training exercises a couple of times a week.
  • Maintain a Healthy Weight: If you’re overweight, even a small amount of weight loss (5-10% of your body weight) can significantly reduce your risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes.
  • Avoid Sedentary Behaviours: Try to reduce the amount of time you spend sitting. If you have a desk job, take regular breaks to stand up, stretch, and move around.
  • Don’t Smoke: Smoking increases your risk of diabetes and other serious health issues. If you smoke, seek help to quit.
  • Regular Check-ups: Visit your GP regularly to check your blood sugar levels, especially if you have risk factors for Type 2 Diabetes. Early detection can help manage the condition effectively and prevent complications.
  • Stay Hydrated: Drinking water instead of sugary drinks can help control blood sugar levels and keep your body healthy.


Diabetes evaluation at Parkhill Medical Centre

Why Get Evaluated?

  • Early detection prevents complications like heart disease and kidney damage.
  • Essential for those with risk factors (overweight, family history, sedentary lifestyle).

What to Expect:

  1. Medical History: Personal, family history, lifestyle factors.
  2. Physical Exam: Vital signs, foot examination.
  3. Lab Tests
  4. Counselling: Nutrition and exercise advice.
  5. Follow-Up Plan: Regular monitoring, ongoing support.


Let’s Wrap It Up

Type 2 Diabetes is a serious but manageable condition. By understanding what it is and how it differs from Type 1 Diabetes, you can take proactive steps to reduce your risk. Remember, small changes in your daily routine can make a big difference. Eating well, staying active, and maintaining a healthy weight are key to prevention.

If you have any questions or need personalised advice, don’t hesitate to book an appointment with our clinic. We’re here to support you on your journey to better health!

Stay healthy and informed!