Diabetes is a condition that causes blood sugar to become too high.
It’s a lifelong condition, and symptoms include fatigue, urinating more often than normal, blurred vision, and feeling really thirsty.
But, the best way to lower the risk of diabetes is to make small lifestyle changes, including walking the distance between bus stops everyday, and cutting back on unhealthy foods, said Dr Sneh Khemka, Aetna International’s President of Population Health.
Finding out if a patient is prediabetic also reduces the risk, as it gives them a chance to reverse the condition before it’s too late, he said.
“We’ve all heard of diabetes, but the problem is that many of us don’t know if we’ve got it,” said Khemka.
“Luckily, if you are tested and find you have prediabetes, then you can do something about it and actually stop yourself from progressing to the full-blown disease.
“So, my advice – think about if you’re at risk, get tested at your doctors or pharmacy, and take the steps to reverse it before it’s too late.
“Making the right changes could make you look better, feel better and avoid diabetes altogether.”
Prediabetics can lower their risk of developing diabetes by 58 per cent, by making lifestyle changes, Khemka said.
Maintaining a healthy weight, or losing between five and seven per cent of a patient’s body weight could lower the risk of type 2 diabetes, he added.
Brisk walking for 30 minutes a day, five days a week is also recommended.
Khemka suggested eating a diet rich in vegetables, fruit, beans, whole grains and unsaturated fats.
“Don’t try and run a marathon, but do get off the bus one stop earlier and walk the rest,” said Khemka.
“Don’t try and get a six-pack, but do cut out at least one of those naughty foods every day. Don’t try and stop drinking altogether, but cut out that second pint or glass of wine in the weekday.
“Small changes, done over a long time, are your best chance of staying healthy and not getting the disease.”
Prediabetes has no clear symptoms, so the only way to find out if a patient has the condition is by a blood test.
Early treatment, combined with medication and lifestyle changes, could help return blood sugar to normal levels, said Khemka.