Diabetes In Ireland: A Growing Epidemic

Diabetes In Ireland: A Growing Epidemic:Diabetes Leads To Heart Disease, Amputations, Kidney Failure, Strokes And Blindness And Has Been Described As A Silent Assassin.

According to a recent Irish study on diabetes, within the next six years the number of adults over the age of 45 with diabetes in Ireland is expected to rise to over 175,000, or 9.1% of the population.

Ireland is on the verge of a diabetes crisis with nearly one in ten people expected to be diagnosed with this serious illness by 2020. The Irish study on diabetes conducted by the Institute of Public Health and University College Cork has confirmed what health experts feared; our unhealthy lifestyles are coming back to haunt us.

The Looming Diabetes Crisis

For adults over 18, the figure is expected to rise by 28% in just ten years to reach 136,000 people, or 3.8% of that age group. This diabetes crisis, combined with Ireland’s overall obesity epidemic will overwhelm the Irish healthcare system and dominate its resources.

Perhaps most worrying of all, the study also found that the number of undiagnosed cases of diabetes is at a staggering high; 30% of diabetes in over 45 year olds remains undiagnosed. This is most common in men, with 4% of them affected as opposed to 1.5% of women.

Suffering undiagnosed diabetes means that your body is not able to regulate its blood sugars by using its own insulin, a hormone produced by the pancreas. This also means you are not supporting your body with anti-diabetic medicine or insulin injections.

This puts you at major risk of health complications.

Global Epidemic Of Obesity And Type 2 Diabetes

Professor Ivan Perry from the HRB Centre for Health and Diet Research, UCC elaborated on the study’s findings:

“We are currently in the grip of a global epidemic of obesity and Type 2 diabetes. Ireland is clearly not immune from this phenomenon which has the potential to overwhelm health services over the next decade. Most people now understand the causes of obesity and diabetes. Unfortunately knowledge alone does not change behaviour.”

The increase of type 2 diabetes among young Irish adults is of great concern as it is, in most cases, preventable. While type 1 diabetes is caused by the body’s own immune system destructing beta-cells, or insulin-making cells, type 2 diabetes is caused mainly by lifestyle factors.

Excess body fat is associated with 60-80% of all cases of type 2 diabetes in Europe. Saturated fats found in pork, cheese and chocolate and trans-fatty acids increase your risk of diabetes. However, polyunsaturated fat, found in nuts, olive oil and oily fish, and monounsaturated fat decrease the risk of type 2 diabetes.

How To Decrease Your Risk Of Type 2 Diabetes

Eliminating useless fats like saturated fats and trans-fatty acids from your diet, maintaining a healthy BMI and taking regular exercise will dramatically decrease your risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

Combined with some resistance training, aerobic exercise will decrease HbA1c, glycated haemoglobin and improve insulin sensitivity. Practicing a low glycemic index (GI) diet can improve the body’s ability to control blood sugar levels.

Through the Motivation Weight Management programme, hundreds of people have dropped weight healthily and lowered their risk of developing type 2 diabetes. We have also seen clients with type 2 diabetes in Ireland reduce and in many cases come off medication.

This recent success story from newlyweds Jenny and Gary has proved that with a little help and support, you can achieve your dream weight by developing healthy eating habits.

If you’re worried that your lifestyle may put you at risk of type 2 diabetes it’s never too late to take action. We can help you improve your health while you lose weight. To speak with one of our dedicated advisers at your local Motivation clinic today click here.

Blog Post by Claire Jackson