Type 2 diabetes can lead to serious health complications if left untreated, such as problems with the heart, eyes, nerves, kidneys and feet. In order to prevent complications from occurring, the condition can be managed by taking medication, but it’s also important to make healthy lifestyle changes. Healthy lifestyle changes include improving your diet and exercising regularly, to keep blood sugar levels in check and prevent weight gain. According to Douglas Twenefour, deputy head of Care at Diabetes UK, running is a particularly beneficial form of exercise for both the control of diabetes and for reducing the risk of developing the condition in the first place.
Running can help your body use the insulin it produces more efficiently, meaning your body becomes more effective at processing the glucose in your blood
Douglas Twenefour – Diabetes UK
“There are a number of risk factors for type 2 diabetes, including age and ethnicity, but being overweight is the most significant,” Twenefour told Express.co.uk.
“It’s also the one that many people can take steps to manage or reduce.”
“Eating healthily and doing regular physical activity like running can help you manage your weight and ultimately lower your risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
“Nobody is expecting you to become a marathon runner overnight but running regularly benefits the body in a number of ways which will ultimately help prevent or manage the condition.”
According to the expert, running helps the body to use insulin more effectively, as well as lowering both short-term and long-term glucose levels.
The former is important as people with type 2 diabetes struggle to produce enough insulin or the body’s cells reject the insulin produced.
Insulin is needed to transfer the sugar in the blood to the cells to be turned into energy, and if it is unable to do this blood sugar levels will remain too high.
“Running can help your body use the insulin it produces more efficiently, meaning your body becomes more effective at processing the glucose in your blood. This helps keep blood glucose levels in the short-term healthy range,” said Twenefour.
In addition, exercise like running can increase the amount of glucose the body’s muscles use for energy, which in turn can help to lower blood glucose levels in the short term.
“This is important because a short-term rise in blood glucose levels can lead to symptoms such as the need to urinate more, thirstiness and tiredness,” continued Twenefour.
Diabetes type 2: Foods to lower blood sugar
Diabetes type 2: Foods to lower blood sugar.
Diabetes type 2: Foods to lower blood sugar
Running regularly can also help to keep glucose levels low in the long term, adds the expert.
“More effective processing of the glucose in your blood helps it stay within the healthy long-term range too.
“Having high long-term blood glucose levels of more than 48 millimoles per moles over time has been associated with life-changing complications of diabetes such as sight loss, kidney disease and amputations.
“Running regularly will keep your long-term glucose levels in check, which in turn can prevent damage to the blood vessels supplying blood to your eyes, kidneys and nerves.”
Diabetes UK has partnered with the Simplyhealth Great Run Series 2019 to encourage people to be more active by running more and, in turn, reduce the rising numbers of people being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.
According to new analysis this year by Diabetes UK, there are around 4.7 million people in the UK living with diabetes – with that number expected to rise to 5.5 million by 2030.
It’s also estimated that there are nearly one million people living with type 2 diabetes that have not yet been diagnosed, and a further 12.3 million people at risk of developing it.
Diabetes: Four common symptoms
Diabetes is a lifelong condition that causes a person’s blood sugar level to become too high.
There are two main types – type 1, when the body’s immune system attacks and destroys the insulin producing cells, and type 2, when the body does not produce enough insulin, or the body’s cells don’t react to insulin.
Type 2 is more common that type 1, with 90 per cent of all diabetics in the UK having type 2.
Going to the toilet a lot more than usual, especially at night, is a common sign of diabetes.
Urinating frequently is also a sign of other medical issues, such as prostate problems, so be sure to visit your GP to have diabetes confirmed.
Excessive thirst, otherwise known as polydipsia, is a classic sign of diabetes. It is linked to frequent urination.
As excess glucose builds up in the blood, the kidneys are forced to work extra hard to filter and absorb the excess sugar, and if they can’t keep up, the excess sugar is excreted in to urine, taking along fluids from body tissue.
This triggers more urination, which may leave diabetics dehydrated.
High levels of blood sugar can cause the lens inside the eye to swell, which can result in blurred eyesight.
Very low blood sugar levels can also cause blurred vision.
If you aren’t trying to lose weight, and you notice a loss of muscle bulk or the numbers on the scales drop, this could be a sign of diabetes.
This happens because insufficient insulin prevents the body from getting glucose from the blood to the cells to use as energy.
The body will then start burning fat and muscle for energy, causing weight loss.
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