The cost of treating diabetes in the UK is growing, costing the NHS in England up to £1 billion a year. Nearly 1 in 20 prescriptions are for type 2 diabetes treatment. There are almost 3.7 million people who have been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in the UK, a figure which is increasing. An overwhelming majority of type 2 diabetes cases are caused by unhealthy lifestyle choices, and could be prevented.
The impact of diabetes in the UK
Prescriptions for diabetes are costing the NHS around £1.1 billion, a significant increase of more than £422 million over the last 10 years. The majority of these prescriptions come from patients suffering type 2 diabetes, which accounts for 90% of diabetes sufferers in England.
Prescriptions are responsible for the £1.1 billion cost, however, it’s estimated that the true cost of diabetes is actually closer to £10 billion a year. The rise has not been attributed to an increase in drugs costs, but the number of people being diagnosed annually. According to NHS England, more than 3 million people suffer with diabetes in England alone, with over 100,000 new diagnoses each year.
Unlike type 1 diabetes, the causes of type 2 diabetes are preventable, and through making healthy lifestyle changes, people can decrease their risk of developing the disease.
Preventing type 2 diabetes through self-care
Self-care is an important part of healthy living, and making considered lifestyle changes now can help you lead an overall healthier lifestyle, as well as reduce the risk of developing certain cancers and diseases. With over 12.3 million people at risk of developing diabetes, it is a serious risk that needs remedying. Practicing better self-care not only helps you to live healthier, but it can also help ease the pressure on the NHS and bring the number of future diabetes diagnoses down. Some suggestions for improving your self-care to prevent type 2 diabetes include:
Start eating better
Eating well is a very important factor for reducing your diabetes risk factor. Your body has a daily recommended calorie intake, and working out yours can help you to stay within a healthy weight range. Your calorie allowance varies depending on your amount of daily activity, so if you’re particularly active and you exercise regularly, you will be able to consume more calories.
However, healthy eating isn’t just about how many calories you consume – it’s about the types of food that you eat. A healthy diet should consist of:
- 5 portions of fruit and vegetables a day
- Lean protein sources
- Oily fish
- Unsaturated oils
As a nation that’s become reliant on takeaways and convenience food, we should all be aiming to cook more at home by using fresh ingredients to prepare nutritious meals. Why not take the November 30 day veg pledge and explore the benefits of reducing the amount of meat and increasing the amount of veg you eat.
Exercise isn’t all about losing weight and toning up, it helps you feel better too. Your cardiovascular health is important and will keep you mobile as you get older. Exercise also helps to relieve stress and helps you get a better night’s sleep, which can help reduce your blood pressure. Keeping your weight down can help you reduce your risk of diabetes, so exercise regularly to help you stay in good health.
Reducing your weight
Being overweight is a significant factor in developing diabetes. Losing weight now could reduce your risk, and the sooner you start, the sooner you can look forward to healthier living. The NHS has a great weight loss plan to help you get started on your weight loss journey so that you can reduce your waistline. Getting enough sleep can also impact your weight in a positive way, helping you to keep those cravings at bay and giving your body enough energy to move around the next day.
Diabetes isn’t a health concern that should be ignored, and with such a high percentage of the population at risk of developing the disease, you or someone close to you could be at risk. Speak to your doctor about your risk factor and start making healthier lifestyle choices to help you avoid type 2 diabetes in the future.