National Diabetes Week takes place every year in July, so it is a good time to look at what diabetes is, and in particular, preventing type 2 diabetes. For people working in sedentary jobs with very little activity in their lives, they are at much higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
What causes type 2 diabetes?
Diabetes can run in families. If you have family members with diabetes, you could be genetically disposed to developing the condition. The risk of developing type 2 diabetes increases if you have high blood pressure, are overweight, have poor eating habits, or not physically active. The good news is that they are modifiable, and you can take steps to reduce your risk. The risk of getting type 2 diabetes increases as we age.
What happens with type 2 diabetes?
Type 2 diabetes is something that develops over a long period of time. Therefore, you may not show any signs of it for a while. Insulin resistance is the first thing that happens in your body. In other words, your insulin becomes ineffective at managing the glucose (or sugar levels) in your blood. As a result of insulin resistance, your pancreas will produce more insulin to manage the blood glucose levels. Your pancreas doesn’t usually produce that much insulin, so the cells that produce the insulin start to fail. If you get a diagnosis, you have likely already lost around 70% of the cells that produce insulin.
As type 2 diabetes is a progressive disease, many people can experience very few symptoms initially. Some symptoms can be associated with getting older, but if you experience putting on weight gradually, as well as always feeling hungry, and feeling lethargic and tired all of the time, it could be worth seeking professional advice. Other symptoms can include feeling dizzy, headaches, blurred vision, and mood swings which should be checked out by your doctor. Itchy skin, leg cramps, slow to heal cuts, passing more urine, and being excessively thirsty are other symptoms to look out for.
How to prevent type 2 diabetes
There are a number of lifestyle factors that can reduce your risk and help with preventing type 2 diabetes. Regular physical activity and exercise can help, as well as eating healthily. These things can help reduce blood pressure and cholesterol levels, which can help to prevent diabetes. People who are currently overweight or obese, then a reduction in weight is something that can make a big difference. Workers who have a job that means sitting at a desk each day should take time to be active. This includes regularly standing and walking around the office.
If you have a team of workers who could be at risk of type 2 diabetes, then we can help. At Jobfit, we are committed to occupational health services that help employee well-being. Get in touch with us today and speak to one of our team about how we can assist in the workplace, and improve the health of you and your team.