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International health emergency

International health emergency
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It’s no exaggeration to say that diabetes is an international health emergency. It is estimated that 422 million people are living with diabetes all over the world. Type 1 diabetes, caused by an immune system attack on the pancreas, usually strikes younger people and follows them through their lives. Type 2 is more common and is caused by resistance to the hormone insulin, which tells the body to absorb blood sugar.

Worldwide, some 350 million people exhibit signs of prediabetes, which means they have a one-in-ten chance of developing type 2 diabetes if not treated.

But here’s the good news: over just the past few years, a remarkable number of diabete treatments, from medications to surgical solutions to high-tech devices, have shown promise. It’s too soon to declare ­victory, but these smart lifestyle tips and medical breakthroughs have given ­people with diabetes winning strategies for today and considerable hope for the future. Separating diabetes myths from truths.

For Prediabetes and prevention

For Prediabetes and prevention
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For those considered to be at a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes, large-scale randomised control trials have shown that in up to 58 per cent of cases, the condition can be delayed or even prevented through lifestyle changes. Check out these 21 hints and tips for eating well with diabetes.

Losing 5-10 per cent of total body weight helps

Losing 5-10 per cent of total body weight helps
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Losing weight: a weight loss of as little as 5-10 per cent of your total body weight can prevent type 2 diabetes in up to nearly 60 per cent of people. Here are the 15 best superfoods to eat if you have diabetes.

Not smoking

Not smoking
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Not smoking: the average smoker is 44 per cent more likely to develop diabetes. It takes 20 years after quitting for your risks of diabetes to reflect that of a non-smoker. Here’s what happens to your body the moment you quit.

Regular physical activity

Regular physical activity
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Regular physical activity: as little as 30 minutes exercise, such as a walk five times a week, can reduce risks of diabetes by 30 per cent.

Make healthy food choices

Make healthy food choices
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Making healthy food choices: ­following an eating plan that is lower in kilojoules and total fat.According to British diabetes ­expert Dr Stephen Lawrence, managing portion sizes and reducing fat are key – “This involves no medication at all.”

Dr David Nathan, professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, adds, “Fat cells, particularly at the abdomen, ­release hormones that ­increase risk for diabetes and it takes only a small amount of weight loss to lower risk. We found that dropping just 0.9 kilograms lowers your odds for diabetes over three years by about 16 per cent.”

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Manage cholesterol levels

Manage cholesterol levels
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Managing cholesterol levels: choosing foods that contain less saturated fats; ideally less than 10 per cent of your total energy should come from saturated fats. According to British diabetes ­expert Dr Stephen Lawrence, managing portion sizes and reducing fat are key – “This involves no medication at all.”

Dr David Nathan, professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, adds, “Fat cells, particularly at the abdomen, ­release hormones that ­increase risk for diabetes and it takes only a small amount of weight loss to lower risk. We found that dropping just 0.9 kilograms lowers your odds for diabetes over three years by about 16 per cent.”

How does Metformin work?

How does Metformin work?
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The drug Metformin has been found to reduce the incidence of type 2 diabetes among people with impaired glucose tolerance. It’s widely prescribed for people with prediabetes in Australia, New Zealand and parts of Asia such as Singapore, Hong Kong and Malaysia.

How it works Metformin reduces blood sugar by lowering the amount of sugar coming from the liver. A 2017 Georgetown University review showed that it cuts the risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 18 per cent over 15 years.

For type 2 diabetes: metabolic surgery

For type 2 diabetes: metabolic surgery
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Rerouting the digestive system with gastric bypass surgery (so-called because it creates a smaller stomach and bypasses part of the small intestine) or with a sleeve gastrectomy (which reduces the size of the stomach by about 80 per cent) is a drastic diabetes solution. After all, it’s major surgery, with small but real risks for such complications as infections, bleeding, and gastrointestinal problems. While available in Australia, New Zealand and Asia, this is not a government-funded procedure for type 2 diabetes and can be costly. It’s also not a stand-alone solution.

Reducing the size of the stomach means smaller portions

Reducing the size of the stomach means smaller portions
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How does it work? Reducing the size of the stomach makes it easier for people to stick with smaller portions – but people are also strongly urged to follow a healthy diet. New research is showing that the surgery produces safe, long-lasting benefits, particularly in people with ­recently diagnosed diabetes, such as John,* 37, who was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes three years ago. His doctor suggested gastric bypass ­surgery when John weighed 107 kilograms and had high cholesterol and hypertension.

“Being fairly young, I was looking at, for the rest of my life, simply being on pills that treated the symptoms but caused problems themselves,” John says. “Even if I kept my sugar down, type 2 diabetes still causes damage and, honestly, would never go away.”

Four months after his gastric ­bypass surgery, John has lost 24 kilos and has stopped taking medication for diabetes, cholesterol and blood pressure. His blood-sugar levels are in the healthy range.

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