Preventing Type 2 Diabetes

“Without intervention, about 70 percent of those with prediabetes eventually develop diabetes.”

Source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2014.

According to the Centre for Diabetes and Endocronolgy in Johannesburg, there are over 3.5 million, diagnosed patients with diabetes in South Africa. In addition, it is estimated that another 5 million South Africans have pre-diabetes, which is a very early stage of type 2 diabetes.

With type 2 diabetes, once you have been diagnosed, you will need to carefully control your blood sugar levels for life. With prediabetes however, you have the opportunity to prevent yourself from advancing to type 2 diabetes. So consider it a valuable warning, to re-evaluate your lifestyle.

The main causes for the alarming rise in diabetes in South Africa is obesity. The high price of healthy food and the abundance of affordable unhealthy food chains around the country, coupled with a more sedentary lifestyle, means that the number of people that are considered morbidly obese in South Africa continues to rise.

How does prediabetes occur?

In healthy people, the pancreas makes insulin, which allows the sugar in the blood to move into the body's cells. However, when the body cannot use the insulin immediately, the sugar is unable to move into the cells. The build up of sugar in the blood over time causes prediabetes, which can advance to type 2 diabetes if blood sugar is not properly controlled.

People with a family history of diabetes, those that are overweight, or those that are not physically active are more predisposed towards prediabetes.

What are the symptoms of prediabetes?

Due to the fact that most prediabetes patients will not have any obvious symptoms, it is often undiagnosed until it has already progressed to type 2 diabetes. This is a major cause for concern, for those people that do not have regular medical check-ups.

How to reverse prediabetes before it’s too late?

  • Get active

A brisk thirty-minute walk, five times a week will not only help you to loose excess weight, but it will improve your mood and your quality of sleep. Try to include weight bearing exercises as part of your regime. These will improve the tone of your body and will improve your bone density.

  • Change your diet

Increase your intake of low-carbohydrate vegetables and protein. Avoid refined carbohydrates by substituting regular potatoes with sweet potatoes and white bread, with low GI bread. Drink at least two liters of water a day and stay away from fruit juices - they are extremely high in sugar.

  • Do not deprive yourself of sleep

The average adult needs approximately eight hours of good quality sleep per night. Alcohol and caffeine can disrupt your sleep leaving you feeling tired the next day and therefore more likely to be seduced by unhealthy food.

  • Stop smoking!

Not only does smoking massively increase your risk of cancer, but it also increases your risk of type 2 diabetes by 30% to 40%.

How can I get tested for prediabetes?

Book an appointment with your doctor, who will perform a fasting plasma glucose test or an oral glucose tolerance test.

Call: 011 792 1616 to book an appointment today.


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. National diabetes statistics report: estimates of diabetes and its burden in the United States, 2014. Atlanta, GA: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2014.

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