There is no doubt that type 2 diabetes and weight are intrinsically linked. If you’ve been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, you will know that eating a healthy diet and maintaining an exercise regime are key to managing your condition.
In fact, recent studies have shown that by returning to a healthy weight and – crucially – keeping the weight off, you can actually put your diabetes into remission. This means you could come off your medication because your body is able to manage its insulin levels all by itself.
Type 2 diabetes
Unlike type 1 diabetes, which is present from birth, type 2 diabetes tends to appear later in life. It happens when the hormone insulin in your body stops working properly, leading to raised blood sugar levels.
While the symptoms of type 1 diabetes come on very quickly, with type 2 diabetes the onset is more gradual, meaning people often live with the condition for several years before being diagnosed.
There are several risk factors for developing type 2 diabetes, including:
- age of 45+
- family history of type 2 diabetes
- high blood pressure
- being overweight
By far the most well-documented of these risk factors is being overweight, and whilst there’s not a huge amount you can do about your age, ethnicity or family history, controlling your weight can help to control your diabetes.
Achieve a healthy weight
It is always tempting to follow a diet that promises extreme weight loss in a short period, but if your aim is to lose weight and keep it off, slow and steady always wins the race.
Here at The Mayfair GP, we specialise in lifestyle medicine. We can offer practical guidance, tailored to your individual circumstances, on how to achieve and maintain a healthy weight. But here are a few key pointers that can work for everyone:
- Follow an eating plan that works for you, that is low in saturated and trans fats, but contains all the major food groups, with a big focus on fresh fruit and vegetables
- Eat three meals a day, with a small, healthy snack between meals if you’re hungry
- Aim to do at least 30 minutes of exercise, three times a week. If you’re not used to an active lifestyle, start with a gentle stroll, and aim to increase the pace over time
A 30 minute walk whilst chatting to a friend can go much quicker than one spent alone and watching the clock! But if walking’s not for you, try cycling, swimming or maybe a team sport. There are plenty of activities to choose from, so keep looking until you find the one that’s right for you.
Symptoms of type 2 diabetes
Because the symptoms tend not to come on so suddenly as type 1 diabetes, type 2 can be harder to spot. Here are some key things to look out for:
- Needing to urinate more frequently, particularly at night
- Being very thirsty
- Feeling tired
- Blurred eyesight
- Increased appetite
If you have been experiencing any of these symptoms, you might be concerned that have type 2 diabetes. But if you get in touch with The Mayfair GP, we can organise blood tests to ensure a speedy diagnosis.