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Welcome to the Health Defence Blog - a blog about health, wellness and a healthier you. Brought to you by the Health Defence team at Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland, you'll find up-to-date information on a range of topics from what's in your food to the latest advice on e-cigarettes!

CHSS Advice Line nurse Laura Hastings, July 2013.

Guest blogger: Laura Hastings, CHSS Lead Advice Line Nurse

February 1, 2017

There are over 276,000 people in Scotland who currently have type 2 diabetes (1 in every 20 people) and many thousands more who have the condition and don’t yet know it.

Having type 2 diabetes puts you at greater risk of developing heart disease or having a stroke - both of which could have a significant impact on your work and your home life.  However type 2 diabetes is often preventable and if you have it, heart disease and stroke can be prevented with early lifestyle changes and treatment.

What is Type 2 Diabetes?

Diabetes is a condition caused by too much sugar in your blood. The amount of sugar in your blood is controlled by a hormone called insulin, which acts as a key to ‘unlock’ your cells allowing the sugar to enter and provide energy.  Type 2 diabetes can develop when your body either can’t produce enough insulin or your insulin doesn’t work properly.

There are four main factors which put you at risk:

  • age – being over the age of 40 (over 25 for people of south Asian, Chinese, African-Caribbean or black African origin, even if you were born in the UK)
  • genetics – having a close relative with the condition, such as a parent, brother or sister
  • weight – being overweight or obese particularly with excess weight around the middle)
  • lifestyle – unhealthy diet and insufficient physical activity

Type 2 diabetes usually develops gradually over many years.

The symptoms of diabetes include:

  • Feeling very thirsty
  • Passing more urine than normal, particularly at night
  • Feeling very tired
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Blurred vision
  • Getting frequent infections such as regular episodes of thrush

Take this quick and simple test to find out if you are at risk of type 2 diabetes. See your GP if you think you may have diabetes.

How can I reduce my chance of developing type 2 diabetes?

Take action now and look at what lifestyle changes you can make:

  • Eat a healthy diet - high fibre foods, plenty of fruit and vegetables, and choose low fat, low sugar and low salt foods
  • You may need to reduce your weight or waist size
  • Increase your level of physical activity

For further information see the CHSS ‘Diabetes' factsheet. Or contact the CHSS Advice Line nurses on: Freephone 0808 801 0899.

***Disclaimer: always seek medical advice before starting a new diet, exercise regime or medication. The information in these articles is not a substitute for professional advice from a GP, registered dietitian or other health practitioner.

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