World Health Day 2016: Managing Diabetes Ireland07/04/2016
On April 7th each year, the World Health Organisation (WHO) takes the opportunity to draw worldwide attention to a subject of major importance to global health. World Health Day 2016 seeks to raise awareness of diabetes, a medical condition that affects a significant portion of the Irish population.
A Global Problem
Diabetes mellitus is a lifelong condition caused by a lack, or insufficiency of insulin. There are two types of diabetes, Type 1 and Type 2. The difference between the two can be found here. Although both can occur in different stages of life, Type 2 is usually the topic of discussion as it can occur much later in adult life, in part due to diet and lifestyle choices.
WHO estimates that about 422 million people worldwide have diabetes, a number that is likely to more than double in the next 20 years if steps aren’t taken by governments to curb the rise of Type 2 Diabetes.
It’s believed by many that Ireland could soon be facing a diabetes epidemic, posiibly as a result of lifestyle and diet trends. According to official data, the total number of people living with diabetes in Ireland is estimated to be 225,840. If the rate of new cases continues to develop it is expected that the number could reach 278,850 by the year 2030. A survey from the Department of Health suggests that a further 854,165 adults over the age of 40 in the Republic of Ireland are at risk of contracting the disease.
How to Prevent Diabetes
When it comes to diabetes, prevention is a vital as there is no ‘heals all’ cure. There is no cure for diabetes type 1 and although people often read about a reversal of Type 2 diabetes, this merely refers to a stage in which positive changes to a patient’s lifestyle allows them to manage the condition with a less rigorous routine of medication.
With no full cure in sight, here are some top tips to prevent diabetes:
One of the main steps to take if you are at risk of contracting diabetes perhaps due to a family history of the disease or because your weight increases your chances of contracting the condition is to stay active.
30 minutes a day of exercise, five days a week is a good target to aim for if you are currently not a very active person. If you feel you already do this amount of excercise and are worried it’s not enough, set your sights higher and don’t include your walk to work or taking the stairs in your total tally (but still keep it up). An additional 30 minute walk each night, before or after dinner could be very beneficial.
Ensure there is plenty of fibre in your diet and a good selection of whole grain foods. As always, a balanced diet works best and it’s encouraged to avoid starchy foods that could upset blood sugar levels over a long period of time. Get used to reading the nutritional information on food products and avoid eating foods that are high in sugar and make smart choices when it comes to incorporating ‘treats’ such as processed or takeaway foods into your diet.
Watch Your Weight
If you are overweight or obese, you are more likely to be at risk of contracting diabetes. Some research indicates that people in these categories can reduce their risk factor by almost half when they take steps to lose between 7-14 percent of their bodyweight. You can consult your doctor about how to lose weight safely.
Regular Blood Tests
If you are not doing so already, it’s a good idea to get in the habit of going for a check-up that includes blood tests twice a year. This is one of the most accurate ways to assess your risk level. If you are worried about diabetes and experience symptoms such as frequent urination, excessive thirst, increased hunger and tiredness consult your GP as soon as you can.
People with Type 1 diabetes usually contract it early on in life and have incorporated their treatment into a daily routine. People who contract Type 2 of the condition later in life may know about testing blood and insulin injections, but are surprised to learn about other aspects of the disease they need to be aware of.
With diabetes feet become more susceptible to injury and infection and can result in a loss of sensitivity. Diabetics need to perform regular checks for infection, keep toenails short and wear footwear provides adequate support. A thorough foot hygiene routine and an organic moisturiser would be valuable assets here.
Those with diabetes are at increased risk of developing gum disease because it may reduce the immune system’s ability to battle oral bacteria. Diabetics need to be vigilant with oral hygiene and book regular dental check-ups
It’s important to learn to deal with the stress of having a disease that requires such full time management. Likewise, it’s equally important to make sure that stresses from everyday life don’t interfere with your treatment routine.
Going on overseas trips with the disease involves making sure you have an ample supply of insulin pre-departure. You will also need to carry identification saying you have the disease in case you get into trouble and need to be assessed by medical staff. In a new environment, or in different time zone, you may also have to perform blood glucose checks more regular than usual.
Wolfgang Digital is joining VOYA for the Global Wellness Day cause.
Each week the digital marketing company hosts an in-office yoga class, bringing a whole new meaning to the idea of work-life balance.