TOPIC OF THE MONTH: Reduce the risk of diabetes.
Why is it common that we all have at least one family member that suffers from diabetes? What have we been doing wrong? Diabetes is one of the fastest-growing diseases in the world. Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease which is mainly diagnosed in children. Type 2 diabetes, on the other hand, mainly affects adults over the age of 40 and is a consequence of both genetics and lifestyle habits.
Did you know that 90% of people with diabetes have Type 2? When you think about it, this comes as no surprise, especially with increased consumption of fast foods and sugar-dense diets. This, added with the exponential growth of technology, specifically social media, which has brought us a lot closer together at the expense of keeping us physically further apart, is almost the perfect recipe for an unhealthy lifestyle.
Symptoms of Type 2 Diabetes include:
- Constantly feeling very tired and thirsty
- Cuts & wounds take longer to heal
- Blurred vision
- Losing weight without trying
The World Health Organization estimates that over 382 million people over the world are diagnosed with diabetes. This represents around just over 5% of the world population. Now, when you realize that a whopping 23.9% of Saudi’s population is effected with diabetes (almost 5 times the global average!), you can start to grasp the gravity of the problem.
Why is the rate of diabetes high in Saudi? For many of the same reasons that the obesity level is so high: we have become less mobile, and we are on a ‘constant feast’ of high glycemic index carbs – foods that raise blood sugar levels too quickly and are then followed with a ‘crash’.
Healthier food options include oatmeal, sweet potatoes, lentils and legumes, which all help maintain blood sugar levels. Increased mobility can be in the form of taking the stairs instead of the elevator, or walking on any of Jeddah’s famous ‘Mamshas.’ Exercising should be a part of everyone’s life – find something that motivates you and stick to it.
To reduce your risk of type 2 Diabetes:
- Get checked regularly by your Doctor
- Move more often
- Exercise regularly
- Eat more low glycemic index foods
Yes, you choose your lifestyle! Research continues to confirm that your health and well-being is about 75% lifestyle and 25% genes. Taking responsibility for your health is the most important step to lead a healthy lifestyle. By avoiding your responsibility, you become part of the problem, but by choosing to live a healthy lifestyle, you play a direct part in the solution, not only for yourself but for those around you.
The International Diabetes Care Center (IDCC) in Jeddah provides support in managing diabetes.
Take the Challenge!
Cut out one “sugar habit” from your diet for a month, and let us know how you did!