National Diabetes Week 2012

This week has been National Diabetes Week. There are two forms of diabetes, type I is when the body is not able to produce insulin. Type II is where the body does not produce enough insulin to maintain a normal blood glucose level, or when the body is unable to effectively use the insulin that is being produced. The body needs insulin to move the glucose (a form of sugar) into the cells of your body to be used as energy. If there is no/not enough insulin available then the glucose builds up in your blood which is dangerous.

Type I usually starts in childhood and can not be prevented or cured, however type II can often be  managed and/or prevented from occuring with a healthy diet and exercise*.  There are some risk factors that you can’t control such as being

  • white and over 40 years old

or

  • black, Asian or from a minority ethnic group and over 25 years old
However there are risk factors you can prevent, such as
  • You’re overweight or if your waist is 31.5 inches or over for women; 35 inches or over for Asian men and 37 inches or over for white and black men.

It is estimated that 80% of Type II diabetics are overweight or obese i.e. they have a BMI of over 25. Whilst it is a myth that sugar and sweets cause diabetes they can lead to being overweight.

There is no reason for people with diabetes not to exercise. An exercise programme may have to be adapted around medical requirements/ and or meal times but as long as precautions are taken (proper footwear worn, glucose monitoring and appropriate food and fluid intake) then the following benefits could occur

  • improvements in blood glucose levels (in Type II)
  • maintenance of ideal body weight and reductions in body fat
  • improved insulin sensitivity, which may lead to lower medication requirements
  • prevention of type II diabetes
For more detailed information about both Type I and Type II diabetes please visit Diabetes UK or

*Some people may need medications and/or insulin injections to achieve normal blood glucose levels.
**Association of British Clinical Diabetologists

Before starting any new exercise program please check with your doctor and clear any exercise changes with them.

I hope you have found this article informative. If you have any questions on this article, or any questions about exercise please post a comment. By subscribing to this blog you will be informed of any new articles. You will not receive any spam email.

Helen Witcomb runs Whole Life Fitness which is a personal training company which caters exclusively for the over 50s. For more information please visit http://www.wholelifefitness.co.uk or call 01252313578.

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