Doing my bit for Diabetes Awareness Week

Doing my bit for Diabetes Awareness Week

12th June 2018 6 By Rachael Stray

Diabetes is very much close to my heart and this week is Diabetes Awareness Week so I thought I’d do my bit.
Diabetes Awareness Week takes place in June every year and it’s a time when people come together to share their stories and to raise awareness of diabetes.

What is diabetes?

Diabetes is a lifelong condition that causes a person’s blood sugar level to become too high.
There are two main types of diabetes:

  • type 1 diabetes – where the body’s immune system attacks and destroys the cells that produce insulin
  • type 2 diabetes – where the body doesn’t produce enough insulin, or the body’s cells don’t react to insulin

Type 2 diabetes is far more common than type 1. In the UK, around 90 per cent of all adults with diabetes have type 2.
During pregnancy, some women have such high levels of blood glucose that their body is unable to produce enough insulin to absorb it all and this is known as gestational diabetes.

How am I doing my bit for diabetes awareness?

For those of you who read my 30 things I’d like to do before I’m 30 post back in November you will know that number 22 was about me wanting to run a proper 5k – despite the fact I am not a runner by any means!
And if you read my Taking on my first half marathon post you’ll know I am running the Great North Run to raise funds for Diabetes UK.

Post-run but still smiling

Post-run but still smiling

Diabetes UK provide care and support, while working on prevention, campaigning, fundraising and research, to try to tackle the fastest-growing health threat in the UK.
Did you know that diabetes affects more people than any other serious health condition in the UK? More than dementia and cancer combined – I didn’t.
That means we need to take action now.
My dad is one of those people and other members of my family have had diabetes too; so this is really close to my heart.
I’ll be thinking of my dad and others while I’m running (walking, crawling, crying) my way from Newcastle to the lovely coast of South Shields. Knowing that I’m doing my bit to help support people with diabetes and fund research and innovation will help me along the 13.1 mile stretch and hopefully I will be raising money too.
If you have any spare pennies please feel free to make a donation via my Justgiving Page here. I’ll be super grateful, thank you.

How can you reduce your risk of Type 2 diabetes?

There’s nothing we can do to prevent Type 1 diabetes but around 60 per cent of cases of Type 2 diabetes can be delayed or prevented by simply making lifestyle changes.
You can reduce your risk of developing Type 2 diabetes by:

Sounds simple, right?
Most people know they need to make changes, but what can be difficult is knowing how to do it – especially making and sticking to those long-lasting changes.
It’s worth remembering that if you enjoy something, you’re much more likely to actually stick to it.

Get support

Make the most of all the support and services available in your area. Ask your GP about:

  • a weight-loss programme or group
  • a registered dietitian or exercise specialist
  • a Type 2 diabetes prevention programme
  • other local services to help you move more and eat better.

It can also help to talk to your family and friends – ask them to get involved too. It will help if they understand what you’re doing and why it’s so important. Plus, eating better and moving more is good for everyone, so you can do this together.

Set yourself realistic goals

Set yourself realistic goals that fit in with how you actually live your life. Choose the healthy food and activities that you like best as this will really help you stay on track. If you don’t like certain fruit or veg or exercise don’t force yourself to eat or do anything you know you don’t like.
Like everything in life, you’ll have good days and bad days, but don’t let a bad day put you off.
Try to think ahead about anything that could stop you from achieving your goal, and plan how you could overcome this.
Once you’re happy you’ve achieved one goal, try adding another.

Make changes part of your everyday

Changing too many things at the same time can make them difficult to stick to in the long run. Start with small things you can change about your everyday routine and build up to more.
Just take it one step at a time.
Of course it can be hard to stay motivated, but remember you’re in this for the long run. You can’t reduce your risk by eating better or moving more for just a couple of weeks, it needs to be a long-term lifestyle change.
By building healthy meals into family life and moving more to help you get from A to B, you can maintain these changes and look forward to a healthy future.

For more information on preventing diabetes, understanding your risk and living with diabetes check out the Diabetes UK website here or NHS Choices has lots of useful information too here.

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