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Not a day goes by when diabetes doesn't creep into the headlines.

Type 2 diabetes is one of the most rapidly growing illnesses in the UK – more than 2.7million people have been diagnosed and it's been predicted that number will rise to five million by 2030.

This is partly caused by the ever expanding obesity epidemic, plus the increase in our sugar consumption.

You'd have to have been buried under a mountain of jelly babies to have missed the recent health warnings about monitoring your sugar intake.

But what you probably aren't aware of is that there's a condition that can alert you to your risk of developing full–blown diabetes.

Could you be suffering from pre–diabetes?

Doctor Andy Flynn explained: "Pre–diabetes or borderline diabetes are the terms used when describing someone at severe risk of developing type 2 diabetes."

People with pre–diabetes have a higher than average blood–sugar level but not one that's high enough to be classed as full–blown diabetes. So how do we know what the symptoms are? In the very early stages it might be difficult to notice any symptoms because the condition develops gradually.

Things to look out for are fatigue, unusual thirstiness, a frequent need to urinate and a general lack of interest in things.

There are many risk factors when it comes to pre–diabetes.

If you're overweight, have high blood pressure or are inactive, you're more likely to develop the condition.

Dr Flynn said: "As well as lifestyle, there's a large genetic contribution, particularly if your family is of Afro–Caribbean, Indian or Native American descent."

Real life story

I'm glad I got early warning

May Owen, 69, went to the doctor six weeks ago because she started to feel tired all the time. She wasn't overweight but there was a history of diabetes on her mum's side of the family, so her blood sugar was tested.

May said: "I found out I had pre–diabetes and was warned I may develop type 2 diabetes."

When she researched the condition, May was most shocked by the amount of foods that contained hidden sugars.

"A month in to changing my habits and I'm feeling good. I just hope it will make a difference. It was good to find out I could at least try to remedy it." HOW TO REDUCE YOUR RISK

Dr Flynn explained: "Exercise and weight loss can greatly improve the sugar profiles of people with pre–diabetes but not completely. Some people, despite having a healthy BMI and exercising regularly, still develop diabetes because of a strong family background of the disease."

It's important to cut down on sugar.

Main foods to avoid are sweets, cakes, white breads, flour, fizzy drinks, ready meals, tinned baked beans and white potatoes. The latter three contain hidden sugars.

Dr Flynn advised: "It's far better to eat foods that release sugar gradually – foods with a low glycaemic index." Low GI foods include wholegrain breads, rice and pasta, sweet potatoes, eggs, lean meats, nuts and hummus.


GUIDELINES A diet that's very high in sugars can cause pre–diabetes

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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Sunday Mail (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Aug 24, 2014
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