Diabetes is a slow killer. Unlike other diseases, people do not die because of diabetes alone, but because of the complications that come with it.
Although the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported last year that the number of diabetes cases in the country is dropping, the epidemic is still not over, especially in other countries.
In the United Kingdom, more than 24,000 people die prematurely because of diabetes and poor health care service, experts from a leading charity have revealed.
Diabetes UK warned health officials that the complications from diabetes are collectively like a "timebomb" that will cripple the National Health Service unless treatment is improved.
Chris Askew, chief executive of Diabetes UK said more people with diabetes continue to suffer from serious complications and die before their time.
"[W]e know that key reasons for this are that they are being denied both the care and access to education that would help them to manage their condition well," said Askew.
The Effects Of Diabetes On The Population
Data from the NHS have revealed that at least 4 million people have diabetes in the UK.
About 92 percent of them are diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes, which is significantly linked to overweight issues. The cases of diabetes in the country have also increased by 65 percent within a span of 10 years.
Because diabetes is linked to obesity, the numbers are significantly affected, making Britain the second fattest nation in Europe next to Hungary. England's Chief Medical Officer, Professor Dame Sally Davies, said the threat of obesity is as dangerous as terrorism or natural disasters.
"With 4 million people in the UK living with diabetes, there is no time to waste in getting serious about providing better care and education," said Askew.
Askew said the rising cases of diabetes and obesity will deny people the best chance of living healthy and longer lives.
Diabetes damages the heart, eyes, feet, and nerves. The NHS said at least 7,000 feet, legs or toes are removed every year in the UK because of diabetes. It can also result to renal failure, leaving patients to depend on expensive dialysis machines.
Aside from that, both men and women with diabetes are also more likely to be admitted to hospitals and occupy one in seven beds. A past study has even showed that men had higher chances of dying from diabetes compared to women because of their stubbornness.
End The "Couch Potato" Habit
Diabetes UK is calling on the government to take urgent action to end the "couch potato" habits that today's culture and lifestyle permit.
Askew said the government should address the fact that two in every three people in the country are obese or overweight, and are at a high risk for Type 2 diabetes. He suggested that making healthy food cheaper and more accessible to people, putting clearer labels on food, and making it easier for people to insert physical activities into their daily routine would have a huge impact.
He also said people with diabetes should receive proper check-ups in areas such as eyesight and foot care that are designed to best manage the condition of the patient, and to prevent complications such as amputation, kidney failure, blindness or death.
"It is vital that we start to see people with diabetes receive good quality care wherever they live rather than them being at the mercy of a postcode lottery," he added.
Tips To Help You Prevent Diabetes Naturally
We have compiled a list of ways to help end your couch potato habits and prevent the risks for diabetes. Some of these are from Dr. David Cavan, an expert on diabetes self-management.
1. Drink water, tea, or coffee instead of sugary drinks. Sugar-sweetened drinks increase a person's risk for Type 2 diabetes. Caffeine is beneficial, but should only be taken without any sugar, or not as a cappuccino or latte.
2. Exercise every day. Physical activity will not only help you reduce weight, but will also help your body's sensitivity to insulin. Insulin sensitivity refers to the amount of insulin your body needs in order to keep levels of blood sugar stable. The right amount of insulin sensitivity will help your body prevent diabetes.
3. Get plenty of sleep. A study revealed that there is a link between sleep deprivation and the risk for Type 2 diabetes. Like exercising, sleeping is vital to keep your insulin sensitivity at the right levels. And because we a have an internal body clock that regulates our physiology and behavior, enough amount of sleep is essential for a healthy body.
4. If you like to drink alcohol, limit it to only two standard drinks per day. Alcohol contains calories and can contribute to weight gain. It can also increase your chances of developing Type 2 diabetes.
5. Eat healthy. For one, you should at least eat leafy vegetables per day because these contain fiber, vitamins and are very low in calories. Eat unsweetened yogurts, nuts and fruits because they're low in sugar. Lastly, prefer to eat white meat than red meat, because the latter is associated with risks for Type 2 diabetes.
Photo: Tony Alter | Flickr