It is estimated that around three million people in the United Kingdom suffer from diabetes, with a further 850,000 unaware that they have the condition – 24,000 of those die from causes that could have been avoided through better management of their condition.
Reports that the government is poised to publish a new obesity strategy in the wake of the Covid pandemic have been welcomed by Slimming World, the UK’s leading/largest weight management organisation who support up to a million members in community based groups each week.
However, say Slimming World, the strategy must include supporting people to change their lifestyles and form new healthy habits to help them lose weight.
Initial indications are that the government’s recommendations will include a focus on exercise and an increase in medical interventions like gastric surgery and appetite suppressing drugs.
But Slimming World points out that the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) guidance is clear that programmes for effective weight loss must address “dietary intake, physical activity levels and behaviour change”.
In a letter to Boris Johnson last month, Caryl Richards, CEO of Slimming World, told the Prime Minister that ‘exercise alone will not solve obesity.
It is well known that someone who is so seriously overweight that their health is at risk would not be physically able to do anywhere near enough exercise to lose weight’.
This is supported by Susan Jebb, Professor of Diet and Population Health at the University of Oxford, who ‘urged people to turn to support groups such as Slimming World’.
Ms Richards added: ‘Slimming World already plays an essential role in the health of the nation. In normal circumstances, our 19,000 weekly community groups provide support to nearly 1 million members.
‘Those groups are currently temporarily suspended following the lockdown in March, and while we are successfully running a temporary virtual service for our members – through our 4,500 self-employed Consultants – we are poised to reopen our doors, as soon as it is safe to do so, to support people in their own communities to lose weight and improve health outcomes’.
Slimming World believes that although in some cases, surgery may be the right solution, for instance where life is at risk or a person truly believes they have tried every possible method to lose weight, it isn’t a scalable, affordable or truly effective solution to weight management, because it doesn’t help people to form new habits around eating and becoming more active which are essential for long term success.
Jenny Caven, Director of External Affairs at Slimming World, said: “Slimming World was founded in Derbyshire over 50 years ago, and for all those years our programme of tailored support in a powerfully motivating group setting has transformed the lives of millions of members and their families. In our groups, our members learn how to plan, shop, cook and eat more healthily, and are encouraged and supported to become more physically active by our trained Consultants, who’ve all lost weight with Slimming World themselves.”
Vincent Taylor (58) spent £16,000 trying to lose weight through surgery before joining Slimming World, going on to lose 8 stone, and reverse his diabetes. Vincent had struggled with his weight since his late teens when he began to put on a lot of weight. He found it more and more difficult to lose weight as he got older.
It is vital that that the government recognises the unequalled role that Slimming World plays in supporting those who are overweight to make long-term changes and lead healthier and happier lives.
Vincent explained: “In 2009, I was working as a fire fighter and found my weight affected my ability to carry out my duties. I was so embarrassed when ordering my uniform because the sizes I asked for were so large – I had a 46-inch waist and the shirts I needed had a 19.5-inch collar.
“I decided to pay for a gastric band. Unfortunately, I lost no weight at all after the operation as the band moved in my stomach. I paid to have it corrected and the band moved again. I then paid to have the band removed and had a gastric bypass instead. I did lose enough weight to complete my service as a fire fighter before I retired but two years after the operation, the weight piled back on. I was so unhappy and I couldn’t see how I could lose weight when even £16,000 worth of surgery had failed.
“When my doctor called me in for my health assessment, I was shocked at the results. I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes and prescribed a lot of tablets: metformin for the diabetes and more medication for inherited high cholesterol and high blood pressure. I was broken hearted thinking that this would be my life going forward.
“I was desperate to lose weight. I’d started a new role as a road safety advocate visiting schools and colleges to share road safety advice. When the occupational nurse at work said that she had lost 3 stone when she attended Slimming World, I decided to give it a try.
“When I joined Slimming World in February 2018, I was 21 stone. I was nervous about joining, I felt embarrassed, thinking ‘blokes don’t do this’. I couldn’t have been more wrong. My Consultant made me feel so welcome and surprise, surprise – it was great. We all had a good laugh and I wasn’t the only man there.
“The best part of Slimming World is the group session. It’s so good to hear how everyone has got on during the previous week and I’m always learning more about, Slimming World’s healthy eating plan. At first, I was so surprised at the variety of food I can eat and I’ve found group is the best place for expert advice around how to cook recipes and for hints and tips on how to stay on track and overcome hurdles.
“At home, I care for my younger brother Michael (51) who has Down’s syndrome. Since I joined Slimming World and have been making healthier meals, Mike has lost over a stone and our doctor is over the moon about this. It’s just wonderful to know my younger brother has lost weight simply because of my cooking.
“I’ve now lost 8 stone and I tell everyone how Slimming World has changed my life completely! As a result of changing my way of life, not opting for a quick fix, I have chased away my medical problems and I’m not scared to visit my doctor any more. The surgery didn’t work as all it did was temporarily stop me gaining weight, it didn’t address why I was gaining weight or help my ongoing struggle. Slimming World has given me the tools to lose weight and keep it off.
“Everyone focuses on the obvious massive physical change but what people can’t see is the mental and emotional change losing weight has caused within me. I am so much happier and stronger as a person. I approach life with a belief that I can do anything I set my mind to I know that Slimming World has saved my life.”
Jenny Caven added: “We were delighted to hear about the Prime Minister’s renewed commitment to tackling obesity in the wake of Covid-19 and, as we work to reopen our doors to support our 1 million members across the UK and Ireland, it is vital that that the government recognises the unequalled role that Slimming World plays in supporting those who are overweight to make long-term changes and lead healthier and happier lives.”
TYPE 2 diabetes may affect a person’s eyes and left untreated could cause complete loss of vision. What are three symptoms in the eyes caused by high blood sugar?
Type 2 diabetes refers to a complex metabolic disease in which the body either can’t produce insulin, doesn’t produce enough insulin, or simply can’t use insulin efficiently. Sugar levels build up in the blood when there is not enough insulin to break it down and this is known as hyperglycaemia. Hyperglycaemia can negatively affect every part of the body including a person’s eyes.
Medical News Today said: “Blurry vision can result from both short-term and long-term complications of diabetes.
“Uncontrolled diabetes can lead to high blood sugar levels that damage small blood vessels over time.
“This damage can lead to problems with a part of the eye called the retina.
“This can create blurred vision.
For people suffering with type 2 diabetes, a condition known as glaucoma could be a reality.
When pressure builds up inside the eye which the fluid is unable to drain as it normally does.
This can damage nerves and blood vessels and cause changes in vision.
Medication is able to help lower eye pressure, speed up drainage and reduce the amount of liquid the eye makes.
Glaucoma is possible to be caught early by a GP during an annual exam but if left untreated, vision loss could occur.
According to the National Eye Institute, if a person has diabetes, their risk of glaucoma is double that of other adults.
Other symptoms of glaucoma may include
- Loss of peripheral vision or tunnel vision
- Halos around lights
- Reddening of the eyes
- Ocular pain
- Nausea or vomiting
The NHS explains diabetic retinopathy is a complication of diabetes, caused by high blood sugar levels damaging the back of the eye.
It states: “The retina needs a constant supply of blood, which it receives through a network of tiny blood vessels.
“Over time, persistently high blood sugar levels can damage these blood vessels in three main stages including background retinopathy, pre-proliferative retinopathy and proliferative retinopathy.
“This can cause blindness if left undiagnosed and untreated.”
When a person has type 2 diabetes, they are at increased risk for a variety of eye problems.
This is why it’s crucial to have regular check-ups and eye exams.
Be sure to tell your GP about all symptoms you are experiencing including any medications you are taking.
Eye problems can be easily fixed by using eye drops or a new prescription for eyeglasses.
However, it can also indicate a serious eye disease or an underlying condition other than diabetes.
TYPE 2 diabetes is a lifelong condition which millions of people live with. Watching one’s diet and lifestyle is crucial for proper management of the condition. Much emphasis is put on the foods and drinks one consumes with little importance on the type of cooking oil to use. According to numerous studies, using this oil will help lower blood sugar levels.
Type 2 diabetes, like many health conditions, can be life-threatening if not correctly managed. The threat comes in the form of having high blood sugar levels which is worsened by the wrong types of food, drink and even cooking oils. What is the best cooking oil to use to help lower your blood sugar?
Dr Shikha Sharma said: “To ensure optimal fat quality the use of a combination of vegetable oils is important.
“You could juggle between butter, ghee, olive oil, mustard oil, soybean, sesame or even groundnut oil for different meals.
“Depend more on unrefined or cold pressed oils versus refined oils.”
“In a study conducted at Sapienza University in Romen, the health benefits associated with a traditional Mediterranean diet for people with diabetes was investigated.
“The findings of the study were consistent with previous studies, which have linked extra virgin olive oil to higher levels of insulin, making it beneficial to people with type 2 diabetes.
“More surprising were the reduced levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) or “bad” cholesterol, associated with the extra virgin olive oil meal.”
In study with the US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health, the effect of daily consumption of extra virgin olive oil on blood glucose among diabetic patients was analysed.
The study noted: “Saudi Arabia has the highest prevalence of type 2 diabetes mellitus among the modern nation states in the world.
“In addition, the majority of Saudi diabetic patients do not have their blood glucose controlled.
“Data suggests that diet, rich in olive oil and nuts, significantly reduces fasting plasma glucose and glycated haemoglobin.
In another study with the US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health, olive oil use in the prevention and management of type 2 diabetes mellitus was analysed.
The study noted: “Olive oil as food is composed mainly of fatty acids and bioactive compounds depending on the extraction method.
“We conducted a meta-analysis to illustrate the impact of this food on type 2 diabetes by investigating the association between olive oil and risk of type 2 diabetes and the effect the oil intake has on the management of type 2 diabetes.”
What are the warning signs of type 2 diabetes?
As the NHS explains, many people have type 2 diabetes without realising because symptoms do not necessarily make you feel unwell.
If you do experience symptoms, these may include:
- Urinating more than usual, particularly at night
- Feeling thirsty all the time
- Feeling very tired
- Losing weight without trying to
- Itching around your penis or vagina, or repeatedly getting thrush
- Cuts or wounds taking longer to heal
- Blurred vision