Can I prevent diabetes?

Type 1 diabetes occurs in children and young people when the pancreas fails to produce enough insulin. The onset is usually sudden and unexpected. We don’t have a reliable way of preventing this type of diabetes and it has to be treated with injections of insulin.

Type 2 diabetes is quite different. This is the kind that is engulfing the developed world and is linked to obesity – or, more particularly, fat round the tummy. It has been called ‘late-onset diabetes’ to distinguish it from Type 1. But the shocking truth is that it often comes on much earlier now and, increasingly, we are having to diagnose it in children.

This type of diabetes comes on gradually. You may notice that you are getting more thirsty and passing more urine, but many adults have Type 2 diabetes without knowing it.

Type 2 diabetes is really bad for the heart and arteries – especially if poorly controlled. This type of diabetes is preventable. Research on groups of people at risk of diabetes (with raised blood glucose levels) has shown that those who improve their diet and take exercise (for 150 minutes a week) greatly reduce their diabetes risk.        


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