Diabetes: might you be at risk?
A higher-than-normal blood sugar level puts you at risk for developing diabetes and heart disease, with elevated blood sugar an early warning sign of diabetes. If you are carrying excess belly fat, you may be one of the estimated 549,000 people in the UK with yet to be diagnosed diabetes. Excess weight, especially fat around the belly, is a tell-tale sign of insulin resistance—the condition that sets the stage for prediabetes.
Since 1996 the number of people diagnosed with diabetes in the UK has risen from 1.4 million to 3.5 million. With this estimated to rise to 5 million by 2025, there some 1.5 million people that should be watching for early warning signs. The majority of these cases are obesity linked type 2 diabetes, with elevated blood sugar levels the warning for urgent action.
Normal fasting blood sugar values range from 70 to 99 milligrams per decilitre (mg/dL): a level of 100 to 125 mg/dL indicates prediabetes, a common precursor to diabetes. This is a signal to review your diet, start to exercise and lose weight.
If your blood sugar is on the high side, you don’t need to make drastic changes to see improvements. The Diabetes Prevention Program, a landmark study almost twenty years old, showed that cutting 150 calories per day and walking briskly for 30 minutes, five days a week, cut the risk of developing diabetes by more than half.
And it’s not all about weight. By exercising and changing what you eat, you will change your body composition, lose fat, gain muscle, improving your response to insulin. When it comes to diet, avoid refined carbohydrates, such as white rice, foods made with white flour, sugary treats like desserts and sodas.
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