The good news is that 80% of potential cases of this type of diabetes can be prevented through simple, but effective lifestyle changes such as diet and exercise.
Being overweight or physically inactive, having a family history of diabetes or having diabetes during pregnancy can increase your chances of developing Type 2 diabetes, which occurs when the level of glucose (sugar) in your blood is too high.
This is either because your body doesn’t produce enough insulin, or doesn’t use what it does produce effectively. Insulin carries sugar from your bloodstream to your body’s cells, where it is used for energy. When there is too little insulin to do the work, quantities of glucose remain in your blood and your sugar levels rise.
Read: What is diabetes?
Type 2 diabetes tends to develop over time in adults and is much more common than Type 1 diabetes. The latter affects younger people, who become dependent on insulin to control it.A quick finger-prick blood test can provide a snapshot of your glucose level. For a normal non-fasting (eating and drinking is allowed prior to the test) reading, a level of 4-10mmol/l (millimoles of glucose per litre of blood) is acceptable.
If your levels fall outside of this range, you will need to have a fasting (a nil per mouth restriction for eight to 10 hours before the test) blood glucose screening done by your doctor, where a level greater than seven mmol/l would be used as a diagnosis for diabetes.
To support the Diabetes Awareness Month campaign running in November, and thereby helping to build a healthier nation, Mediclinic hospitals will be offering free blood glucose finger-prick screenings to all members of the community throughout the month.
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For more information visit www.mediclinic.co.za