Over the recent 50 years, a dramatic change in human lifestyle has been associated with elevated type 2 diabetes incidence and prevalence rates. Type 2 diabetes is a chronic disorder caused by impaired insulin production or the impaired ability to react to the body’s insulin which results in elevated blood glucose (also known as hyperglycaemia). The most recent statistics reveal that type 2 diabetes is prevalent amongst greater than 5% of the UK population. However, due to the known prevalence of risk factors such as obesity and physical inactivity, researchers believe that a further 1 million people living with type 2 diabetes remain undiagnosed by their local GP.
Symptoms of this chronic condition include elevated thirst, hunger, fatigue, blurred vision and some individuals may not experience any symptoms whatsoever which is typically diagnosed by doctor’s through undertaking HbA1c blood tests (this measures the amount of blood glucose attached to the haemoglobin molecule during the prior 8-12 weeks). Type 2 diabetes accounts for 90% of diabetes diagnoses which demonstrates the high prevalence of the preventable condition. The typical age of onset is 45 years and above; however, recent findings reveal the increasing trends within the youth (16-30 years). Overweight and obesity are the single most important predictors of type 2 diabetes whereby within the UK, 86% of type 2 diabetics are overweight and a further 5% are obese. Further risk factors of developing type 2 diabetes include elevated waist circumference, blood pressure, ethnic minority groups, having a family member whom has type 2 diabetes and many more.
A minimum of 150 minutes of physical activity per week has been shown to be associated with the prevention of type 2 diabetes. Additionally, physical activity can also help improve the lived reality of being a type 2 diabetic by improving your quality of life and also helping to prevent the development of further complications such as cardiovascular disease and premature mortality (early death). Physical activity can help regulate good blood glucose and many other blood biomarkers which are linked to complications experienced later in life. Although these findings are merely correlations, the evidence is astoundingly convincing with consistent findings amongst numerous study designs.
Therefore, if you are living with type 2 diabetes or are living with numerous risk factors, physical activity can have numerous benefits to your health and can also help prevent the development of health complications experienced later in life. So not only can physical activity to help improve your quality, it can also improve your quantity of life! Why wait? Get active today for a healthier and happier you!