LIKE with all life-threatening conditions, early diagnosis is really important when it comes to type 2 diabetes.
It’s a really serious condition, and one that I see all the time in clinic. But for many of us it is preventable and with the right support and significant changes to diet and lifestyle some people can even reverse it.
The problem is that there are thought to be around one million Brits who have the condition but don’t know it yet. And that’s not counting the one in three adults thought to be on the cusp of type 2 diabetes – a condition we call prediabetes.
So, how can you tell if you are one of those at risk?
Type 2 diabetes tends to affect adults, although more and more people are being diagnosed in their teens and 20s. The youngest ever patient is thought to be a three-year-old, who weighed five stone.
Age is a factor, and if you’re 40 or older it’s important you make use of your NHS health check.
The only real way to know if you have the condition, is to have a blood test.
And often it’s picked up in test results when you go to the doctor for something completely different.
In most cases people don’t display symptoms, but if you do notice signs of type 2 diabetes it’s important to see your GP.
Signs to watch out for include:
Given that symptoms don’t always show, it’s also worth being aware of the various different things that can increase your risk of getting type 2 diabetes.
Your chances are higher if:
The NHS actually has a handy online tool that can help you check your risk, so if you’re worried it can be a good place to start. Visit nhs.uk/conditions/type-2-diabetes/symptoms.
Like with all diseases, prevention is often better than the cure. And there are things we can all do to lower our risk.
Getting to a perfect weight is unrealistic for many people. But losing some weight will help to reduce your blood glucose level.
Exercising, even if you don’t lose weight, will help your body better control sugar. Eating a balanced and healthy diet, stopping smoking, and drinking alcohol in moderation will all help too.
It’s not about cutting everything out, but just small changes can make a big difference when it comes to this disease. If in doubt, go and speak to your GP.
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