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Why aren’t we taking the Diabetes Epidemic More Seriously?

Reading Time: 2 minutes

It’s officially Diabetes Day! It’s a good time to remind people that diabetes has officially been labelled a global epidemic. An estimated 4.5 million people in the UK alone are living with Diabetes and worse still 11.9 million are estimated to be at increased risk. 

You could have a higher risk of having diabetes if you have any of the following:

  1. Your parent(s) were diagnosed with diabetes. If just one of your parents has diabetes, you have a 1 in 7 chance of having it too, but if both your parents have diabetes you have a50% chance of having it.
  2. You are overweight. BMI is strongly related to Type 2 diabetes. So if your BMI is over 35 kg/m2 your risk is 93 times greater. Women with a body mass index (BMI) of 30 have a 28 times greater risk of developing diabetes than do women of a healthy weight. 
  3. High blood pressure
  4. You are not physically active
  5. You are over 40 years old. You’re more at risk if you’re white and over 40 or over 25 if you’re African-Caribbean, Black African, or South Asian.

Type 2 diabetes is a killer, so why don’t we know more about it?

Simply explained, it’s a disease that impacts on the hormones produced by the body. Type 2 diabetes effectively causes excess sugar (glucose) in the blood. This can lead to severe dehydration and, over the long term, to problems with the nerves/nerve endings. This can lead to damage to the eyes and to limbs. In extreme cases Type 2 diabetes can lead to premature death. 

Are you overweight and have Type 2 diabetes?

The best way to avoid or to treat Type 2 diabetes is to get your weight down to a healthy level. Generally this means keeping a body mass index below the 27-30 range. The healthy range for you could be even lower than this if you are in one of the higher risk ethnic groups I mentioned earlier.

So, Type 2 diabetes is a serious threat to health and can cause death or disability. 

If you are obese, i.e. you have a BMI over 30, and you are worried about Type 2 diabetes, the good news is that weight loss surgery represents a very safe and effective treatment. Recent research showed that 77% of weight loss surgery patients who had Type 2 diabetes at the time of their surgery were completely cured when tested 2 years later. Although the gastric band is a good option of this patient group, the gastric bypass and gastric sleeve are the better options. In the case of the bypass the health benefits are often immediate!

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Rishi Singhal

Rishi is an expert bariatric surgeon based in the West Midlands and also Medical Director at Healthier Weight

The Healthier Weight App

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