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With the number of cases of stroke and kidney failure on the rise, it's important that we protect ourselves against similar complications of diabetes by employing healthy living techniques such as eating well and taking lots of exercise.
According to Boots pharmacist Angela Chalmers, there is still a lack of awareness about the types of diabetes and the impact they have on our health.
"Type 2 diabetes is often seen as the diabetes of the older generation, and that it is less dangerous than type 1 diabetes," she explained. "However, in fact, type 2 still leads to the same health complications as type 1, such as blindness, kidney failure, intense nerve pain, poor circulation, heart attack and stroke.
"Increasingly it is affecting people as young as their teens who are overweight with excess fat around their tummy," the health expert added.
Ms Chalmers also recommends a healthy exercise regime, starting off with small amounts of exercise to ease your way into a routine.
"Gentle daily activity such as walking more, taking stairs and swimming can all help you tackle your spare tyre. Smoking can increase sugar levels and also leads to insulin resistance, so try to pack in the cigs to help prevent diabetes," she said.
To lower the risk of developing diabetes, it's important to monitor your weight and reduce the amount of excess fat around your stomach, as this can decrease the chances of developing insulin resistance.
Women with a waist circumference of 35 inches (88.9cm) and above and men with one of 40 inches (101.6cm) or more are at an increased risk of developing the disease, so if you are carrying a little extra weight, it might be a good idea to make a few changes to your diet so that you can shed the pounds in a slow, controlled way.
Just making simple alterations, such as swapping white rice for brown or wild rice, white bread and pasta for wholemeal options and switching your breakfast croissant for a bran muffin, should allow you to see results within a few weeks - and it will protect you against the risk of diabetes in later life.
Posted by Matilda Jones