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Diabetes is mostly considered as a disease of high blood sugar. While that’s true, it is also important to know that uncontrolled high blood sugar increases the risk of developing several serious health problems and is a leading cause of blindness, amputation, heart disease, kidney failure, and even early death. According to the International Diabetes Federation, 4 million lives were lost due to diabetes. Almost half of all deaths attributable to high blood glucose occur before the age of 70 years. It also estimated that diabetes was the seventh leading cause of death in 2016.

Worldwide, over 425 million people are currently living with diabetes. One out of 2 people currently living with diabetes is undiagnosed. You are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes if you’re age 45 or older, have a family history of diabetes, or are overweight. Early diagnosis and treatment are key to prevent complications of diabetes and achieve healthy outcomes. Physical inactivity and certain health problems such as high blood pressure also affect your chance of developing type 2 diabetes. All families are potentially affected by diabetes and so awareness of the signs, symptoms and risk factors for all types of diabetes are vital to help detect it early.

Most of these type 2 diabetes cases, are largely preventable through regular physical activity, a healthy and balanced diet. Families have a key role to play in addressing the modifiable risk factors for type 2 diabetes and must be provided with the education, resources, and environments to live a healthy lifestyle. When a family eats healthy meals and exercises together, it benefits all the members and encourages them to adopt a lifestyle that can further help prevent type 2 diabetes in the family.

A healthy lifestyle is a cornerstone of healthy living — with or without diabetes. But if you have diabetes, you need to know how your lifestyle is affecting your blood sugar levels. Stress and eating habits affect lifestyle immensely and it is no surprise that today, most of us lead a very unhealthy lifestyle which welcomes numerous lifestyle diseases. With good self-management and the support of a healthcare professional, people with diabetes can live a long and healthy life. However, poorly managed diabetes can lead to serious health problems”. 

Recommendation for a healthy diet and physical activity for general population.3

·         hoosing water, coffee or tea instead of fruit juice, soda, or other sugar sweetened beverages

·         Eating at least three servings of vegetable, including green leafy vegetables and fresh fruit everyday

·         Choosing nuts, a piece of fresh fruit, or unsweetened yoghurt for a snack

·         Choosing lean cuts of white meat, poultry or seafood instead of red or processed meat, peanut butter instead of chocolate spread or jam

·         Choosing whole-grain bread, rice, or pasta instead of white bread, rice, or pasta

·         Choosing unsaturated fats (olive oil, canola oil, or sunflower oil) instead of saturated fats (butter, ghee, animal fat, coconut oil or palm oil).

·         Physical activity at least between three to five days a week, for a minimum of 30-45 minutes.

Physical activity is most effective when it includes a combination of both aerobic (e.g. jogging, swimming, cycling) exercise and resistance training, as well as reducing the amount of time spent being inactive.

Family support in diabetes care has been shown to have a substantial effect on improving health outcomes for people with diabetes. It is therefore important that ongoing diabetes self-management education and support be accessible to all people with diabetes and their families to reduce the emotional impact of the disease that can result in a negative quality of life.

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