Geneva-based Hôpital de La Tour is reminding people of the importance of a healthy lifestyle for managing and preventing diabetes.
As World Diabetes Day is observed across the globe on Nov 14, leading specialists from Hôpital de La Tour have warned against the harmful effects of diabetes, including kidney failure, heart attacks, blindness, strokes and limb amputation.
Founded in 1991 by the International Diabetes Federation with support from the World Health Organization, World Diabetes Day raises awareness about diabetes and the health and economic threats it poses as a global public health issue.
Diabetes is the most common metabolic disease, characterised by an elevated glucose level in the blood and can be one of two types. While type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease, type 2 diabetes is known as adult-onset; in other words, it sets in progressively over time.
Type 1 diabetes is related to a deficiency in insulin because the cells that produce it are damaged. In contrast, type 2 diabetes is brought on by the body developing a resistance to the action of insulin, resulting in problems with sugar absorption and elevated blood sugar levels. An increased risk of type 2 diabetes is correlated with age, family history, and an unhealthy lifestyle.
Prof. Dr. med. François Pralong, Chief of Endocrinology & Diabetes and Obesity Centre, said: "Diabetes is a significant problem in the GCC, having high numbers of people with the condition. The most prevalent form of diabetes in the GCC is Type 2, associated with obesity, smoking, a sedentary lifestyle, and a high intake of junk food."
" Diabetes requires comprehensive, interdisciplinary medical care with long-term monitoring and patient involvement in their care plan because of its complexity, diversity, and chronic nature.”
"Patients can keep their diabetes under control once they have made specific lifestyle changes and started suitable medical treatment. Simple lifestyle measures are effective in preventing or delaying the onset of type 2 diabetes."
Dr. Pralong offers these lifestyle changes to control, prevent, and even reverse type 2 diabetes.
- Lose excess weight - Type 2 diabetes is linked with Obesity, and even a slight weight loss can significantly reduce the risk. There isn't a need to have a drastic change in diet, but rather be conscious of not including too much sugar and bad fats in the diet.
- Exercise more - Combining exercise with an improved diet can help you lose weight and lower your blood sugar levels to an acceptable level. Thirty minutes of walking and some resistance training every day will go a long way to making you fitter and stronger and has massive health benefits, many of which affect diabetes risk.
- Cut down on unhealthy fats - A diet rich in fat, especially saturated fats, should be avoided as much as possible. Avoid dairy products, fatty meats, and sugary desserts. Replace red meat with fish on one day of the week, and include oils from plants, nuts, and seeds.
- Eat fibre-rich food - In addition to promoting gut health, consuming a high-fibre meal daily can help reduce blood sugar levels and insulin spikes, reducing the risk of developing diabetes.
- Avoid smoking - The prevalence of diabetes is a significant risk factor for smokers, who face an increased chance of developing the condition. Smoking increases the likelihood of developing diabetes and worsens the prognosis, making disease management challenging.
- Drink water - If you tend to stick with water rather than other beverages, you may be able to lower your blood sugar and insulin levels, thus reducing your risk of diabetes. By drinking water more often, you avoid drinks with sugar, preservatives, and other additives you may not need.
Dr. Pralong added: "While these may seem like enormous lifestyle changes, incorporating healthy eating and exercise into your routine is relatively easy if you start small and set attainable objectives. You will notice the benefits almost immediately, improve your physical fitness and stamina, and have more energy. Also, you will delay the development of type 2 diabetes."