Diabetes – how can I protect myself? - CALIFORNIA HEALTH

Diabetes – how can I protect myself?


Diabetes – how can I protect myself?

Diabetes blog

Diabetes is a serious health condition which means the body cannot use blood sugar properly. This occurs when the body is not producing any insulin at all (type 1 diabetes) or when the insulin it produces is not enough or does not work properly (type 2 diabetes).

With all the advances in medicine, diabetes continues to kill a lot of people and negatively impact on quality of life through horrible complications such as amputations, blindness, kidney disease, heart attacks and strokes. For men, diabetes can cause a terrible blow to sexual health by making it difficult to have or sustain erection.

I don’t have diabetes, how do I prevent it?

Type 1 diabetes cannot be prevented. There are important factors that put us at risk of type 2 diabetes such as old age, family history and ethnicity.

People from African and south Asian background are at a higher risk compared to those from White European background. Crucially, people from African and South Asian backgrounds also develop the condition at a younger age. Whiles these risk factors cannot be modified, our weight and lifestyle are significant risk factors which we all have opportunities to improve.

If your weight is up, your best way of preventing type 2 diabetes is to get support to lose any extra weight especially around your middle. This is easier said than done. But with the right support, you can be deliberate, devise a plan and commit to that plan with the help of a professional. Involving the whole family in your plan also helps.

  • Get the support of a dietitian or a nutritionist. You are more likely to be successful in eating healthier, losing weight and sustaining lifestyle changes if you involve a professional.
  • Watch your portions. Use smaller plates. Stop the habit of eating till you are too full.
  • Eat more of these foods – vegetables (especially green leafy one such as kontomire, spinach, cabbages etc), fruits (especially blueberries, grapes and apples), wholegrains, yoghurt, cheese, tea and coffee as they are associated with reducing risk of type 2 diabetes
  • Eat less of these foods – sugary drinks (such as cola, malt and energy drinks), processed meat (such as bacon, sausages, corned beef and hotdogs), red meat (such as beef, pork and lamb), potatoes (particularly chips) and white bread and white rice because eating more of these has been associated with higher risk of type 2 diabetes
  • Do regular exercise. Siting for long hours also increases risk of type 2 diabetes
  • Reduce snacks such as crisps, biscuits, cakes, and chocolates
  • Drink more water; shun sugary drinks, fruit juices, juice drinks and smoothies
  • Reduce alcohol intake, and get help to stop smoking if you smoke.

I have diabetes, how do I manage it?

If you already have diabetes, your best way of protecting yourself against the horrible complications and prolong a healthy life is by engaging with the health systems and getting regular checks.

  • Attend your appointments.
  • Get a referral from your doctor or nurse to a diabetes education programme to help you learn more about the condition which will give you the skills and confidence to manage it.
  • Get regular checks to make sure diabetes is not damaging important parts of your body such as your eyes, kidneys and feet.
  • Take your medications. Some of them can be life-saving. Every year 26,000 people die prematurely in England and Wales because of diabetes. If you have a problem with one medication report that to your GP who can try you on another.
  • Get support to eat a healthy diet that include more vegetables, fruits, beans, fish, unsalted nuts, wholegrains, and less sugary drinks, biscuits, cakes, crisps, chocolates, white bread, beef, pork, bacon, and sausages.
  • Do more regular exercise and sit less. Interrupt the time you spend sitting watching TV or behind the computer by standing up and working around every.
  • Ignore extreme proclamations of a magic cure. There are a lot of junk information on the internet about a cure for diabetes. We are confident of putting type 2 diabetes into remission, at least for a while, but there is currently no permeant cure for diabetes so beware of false declarations.


Dougie’s tip: Diabetes is a complex condition and no single food can cause or cure diabetes. So if an internet ‘expert’ promises you salvation on your plate, beware. Take a holistic approach to eating healthily rather than quick fixes that tend to major on the minors. Be practical about your approach because this is supposed to be a long haul not a sprint.