The media has been very powerful in putting messages across that it is important to look after yourself to prevent diabetes developing.

Even the fans at Luton Town FC were trying to help an away fan on Saturday during a game. They spotted a fan who  was a little overweight and being public spirited they gave him advice on “eating too many pies” and  sang the warning song;  “It’s coming for you, it’s coming for you oo, oo, Diabetes, it’s coming for you!

What an educated bunch!

What is Diabetes?

It is a condition when the amount of glucose in the blood is too high because the body can’t use it properly.

There are different forms of diabetes…

Type 1

This accounts for 10% of all adults and it can develop at any age but usually before the age of 40, it is the most common type of diabetes in children.

Type 1 develops when insulin producing cells in the body have been destroyed and are no longer able to make insulin.

Insulin is a hormone which helps your body to use glucose carried in the blood to give you energy. Think of insulin as a key, the key unlocks a door in our cells to allow the door to open and insulin to step inside and deliver fuel to our body which enable us to function properly. With Type 1 Diabetes the key has been lost so the cells can’t be unlocked and no fuel can get into the cells. This results in a build-up of glucose in the blood.

The body then  tries to get energy from somewhere else so it takes fat and protein which can cause weight loss.

The excess glucose is expelled from the body in urine.

Type 1 Diabetes is usually treated with insulin injections. I can remember when I was at school one of the boys in my class was Type 1 and injected himself with insulin, we found this hugely entertaining and he was more than happy to provide us fascinated kids with the regular floor show!

Type 2 Diabetes

This type of Diabetes means that there isn’t enough insulin or it’s not working properly. The lock has been changed and the key doesn’t fit or it only allows a small amount of glucose in and once again, glucose builds up in the blood.

Type 2 comes on slowly with no symptoms for a while. Sometimes it can take 10 years before people are aware that they have it.

Can you reduce the risk of developing Diabetes?

There’s not much that you can do for Type 1 but Type 2 can be delayed or prevented by making small lifestyle changes. Looking at your diet will make a big difference and lowering your weight to a healthy level will have a huge impact: If you lose about 5% of your body weight it can greatly reduce your chances of developing Diabetes, every kilo you lose reduces the risk by up to 15 %.

Poor diets and being physical inactive increase the risk of developing Diabetes, sugar is saturating everyday foods and is a major concern. More and more children are developing Type 2 Diabetes now, not surprising when you consider that the average adolescent drinks approximately three cans of coke as day, each can has 6t teaspoons of sugar which is 18 teaspoons a day; 126 a week accounting to drinking more than a 500g bag of sugar a week!!!

For more information regarding sugar read my blog; Sugar!


These symptoms don’t necessarily mean that you have Diabetes but it is best to check it out with your GP.

How can physical activity help?

In some cases being physically active and lowering body fat percentage is enough to prevent the need of medication in the first place and it can also help the medicating Diabetic patient to reduce or stop taking medication.

At SLL, we see many diabetics in our fitness centres. Many type 1’s who have had the condition for many years take part in regular activity and Sports. Sir Steven Redgrave is a famous Olympian who has conquered Diabetes to have a fantastic career in sport, he knows his body and what he can and can’t do and has no problems.

Others have type 2 and need more guidance and confidence so that they are happy to take part.

We see such an improvement in the physical and mental health of these customers and it is great to see them improve.

It is important to get your GP’s approval before starting any activities.

If you need more help, speak to your GP or visit the Diabetes UK website.

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