Diabetes is a growing epidemic in Qatar that needs to be tackled. If the diabetes challenge is not addressed and lifestyles not modified, the International Diabetes Federation has predicted that one in four Qataris will have diabetes by 2030. However, the good news is that type two diabetes is preventable if risk factors are identified and lifestyles changed.
Action on Diabetes is a public-private partnership, initiated and funded by Maersk Oil Qatar that aims to prevent diabetes and improve the care and quality of life for patients in Qatar. To help you prevent and manage diabetes, Action on Diabetes has teamed up with the Qatar Diabetes Association to provide you with some advice to help you commit to a healthier and happier lifestyle. Here are the tips...
1) Eat balanced portions
It’s all about eating balanced portions of a wide variety of foods. Try including between three and five servings of fruit and vegetables a day, and eating less sugar and saturated fats. This simple change alone has been shown to be important in maintaining appropriate weight, which lowers the risk of type two diabetes.
2) Choose the right foods
Try choosing foods that are rich in whole grains and fibres, and that are either fat-free or low in fat. An easy lifestyle change is to choose low-fat dairy products. Also, increase your protein intake by eating lean meats (such as poultry and fish) and adding beans to your dishes, while also limiting your daily intake of salt.
3) Eat a proper breakfast
Make sure to never skip meals and always have a proper breakfast every morning to kick-start your metabolism. Try eating more grains, beans, and non-starchy vegetables.
4) Cook healthy
Try using healthier cooking oil instead of ghee and butter when preparing your meals. Using heathier oils helps you to control your intake of fat and to lose weight. Examples of heart-healthier oils include canola oil, olive oil, flaxseed oil and walnut oil. Use these for a lighter meal.
5) Move more
Adding regular physical activity to your life comes with many positives, such as aiding weight-loss and directly reducing the risk of heart attacks. This simultaneously improves your mental health by boosting your confidence and enhancing your sleep quality, as well as your energy levels.
6) Do simple exercise
There is a direct relationship between being active and reducing the risk of diabetes. 150 minutes per week of moderate to vigorous physical activity significantly lowers the risk of diabetes. Studies have shown that even very short bursts of activity at a high intensity has comprehensive positive effects on the metabolism.
7) Refrain or quit from smoking
Smoking is a health hazard for anyone, but for people with diabetes or at a high risk of developing the disease, smoking can contribute to the development of type two diabetes. If you want to quit smoking, you can make small changes to your lifestyle that may help you resist the temptation to light up. Start by thinking positively and telling yourself that, this time, you’re really going to do it. Get yourself a support group (friends or family) that want to give up too and suggest that you give up together. Finally, make a plan by setting a date and sticking to it.
8) Look after your family members
Family members of those living with diabetes should be extra vigilant of their loved ones and pay close attention to any symptoms that suggest changes in their condition, such as dizziness, blurred vision or slurred speech. If people start to exhibit such symptoms, seek medical attention immediately.
9) Stay positive
Having diabetes can, at times, be overwhelming. Every day there are multiple decisions to be taken to keep your blood sugar levels on track, and it can take a toll on your emotional wellbeing. Your blood sugar is also affected by stress and negative emotions you may experience. Speak to a healthcare professional if you need any advice on how to manage your condition and stay positive.
10) Speak to a doctor
Speak to your doctor and make sure to confirm what dietary and medication plan you should follow.
11) Get yourself checked
Early detection is vital to allow diabetes to be properly managed and to prevent complications. Get yourself checked at Hamad Medical Corporation’s diabetes centre Hamad Medical City, off Al Rayyan Rd. (4439 5777), or at the closest Primary Health Care Corporation diabetes clinic to you.
You can also look out for Action on Diabetes workplace and public screening visits in 2015 by going to its website www.action-on-diabetes.qa and following on social media: Twitter.com/Action_Diabetes; Facebook.com/ActionOnDiabetes.