Type 2 diabetes is a serious condition that affects more than 2 million people in Poland. If diabetes goes untreated, it can lead to life-changing complications. The most common health implications are: damage to vision, kidneys, difficulty healing wounds, development of the so-called diabetic foot or lead to heart attack or stroke.

Lifestyle changes – including nutrition, physical activity and sustained weight loss – can effectively reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes by up to 50%

The risk of developing type 2 diabetes increases with age, but making healthier choices and maintaining a healthy weight is the best thing you can do for your health. Making small changes now can have a big impact on your future health.

Factors that classify you into the risk group are:

  • – diagnosed diabetes in family members
  • – high blood pressure
  • – age over 45 years
  • – overweight and obesity
  • – low physical activity
  • – gestational diabetes (diabetes during pregnancy, even in the distant past)
  • – high birth weight of the baby – more than 4 kg
  • – low levels of HDL, known as the “good cholesterol”
  • – high triglycerides
  • – depression
  • – history of disease, cardiovascular events
  • – polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
  • – insulin resistance and keratosis nigricans

If you are of South Asian (Indian, Pakistani or Bangladeshi), African or Caribbean black race, your risk of developing diabetes is 2-4 times higher.

People between 45 and 60 years of age are particularly at risk of developing the disease, which does not mean that younger people cannot get the disease. People with hypertension above 140/90 mmHg are also at risk.

According to scientific studies, genetic factors contribute about 50 % to the development of type 1 diabetes and 30-70 % to the development of type 2 diabetes. The risk of developing type 2 diabetes in the child of a person with the disease is about 40 %, and if both parents have the disease, the risk increases to as much as 70 %.

When you are at risk of suspecting type 2 diabetes, you should see your GP as soon as possible and he or she may order a blood test to detect diabetes. If your blood sugar level is higher than normal This means you are at high risk of developing type 2 diabetes in the future.

Fasting blood sugar test. A blood sample is taken after you have not eaten overnight. The results are interpreted as follows:

  • – Less than 100 mg/dl (5.6 mmol/l ) is considered healthy.
  • – Between 100 and 125 mg/dl (5.6 to 6.9 mmol/l ) is diagnosed as pre-diabetic.
  • – 126 mg/dl (7 mmol/l ) or more in two separate tests is diagnosed as diabetes.

HbA1c (blood test) should be tested at least once a year to keep blood sugar levels under control.

Zuzanna Cybulska, clinical dietitian