What are the health benefits of walking?

So what are the health benefits of walking?

According to this fascinating infographic it can help with diabetes, dementia , arthritis, heart disease and depression.

I try to walk for a couple of hours a day so makes me happy!

Health Benefits of Walking


Diabetes – Treatment , Complication and Prevention of Diabetes – An interview with Dr Max Pemberton

Diabetes - Treatment , Complication and Prevention of Diabetes - An interview with Dr Max Pemberton
Diabetes – Treatment , Complication and Prevention of Diabetes – An interview with Dr Max Pemberton

A few weeks ago we were delighted to be able to interview Dr Max Pemberton about the key questions many of us has about diabetes.

We covered one of these topics in a post a few days ago because we felt that the definition of type 1 , type 2, type 3 and type 1.5 (as well as gestational diabetes and pre-diabetes)  was important enough to cover in its own post. You can check it out here.

Today we want to look at the treatments and complication of diabetes. So we lined up Max for a few more questions.

Diabetes Treatments

Patient Talk:- What are the treatments available for diabetes?

Max Pemberton:- So in recent years there’s been loads of developments in the way that we manage diabetes. As well as making key lifestyle changes, people with both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes often need additional treatments such as medication like insulin to control their diabetes as well as things like their blood pressure and their blood fats so that’s their cholesterol.

Complications of Diabetes

Patient Talk:- Would you be able to elaborate on some of the complications of diabetes?

Max Pemberton:- So this is really important and this is why we take blood glucose levels so seriously is because if particularly, people have high blood glucose levels over long periods of time, it can cause really serious physical health complications and they include things like damage to blood vessels so that people are at increased risk of strokes and heart attacks. It can also cause damage to the very fine delicate blood vessels so that can cause problems with people’s kidneys. It can also cause problems with people’s eyesight so a condition called diabetic retinopathy whereby the delicate blood vessels at the back of the eye have problems and it can result in blindness. In fact it’s the leading cause of blindness in the UK. It can also develop things to do with circulation in the legs, for example where people can develop ulcers and in really extreme circumstances the circulation is so bad that people actually have to have their legs amputated.

Diabetic retinopathy and Diabetic foot ulcers

Patient Talk:- Explain what diabetic retinopathy and diabetic ulcers are?

Max Pemberton:- Diabetic retinopathy as I say it’s the leading cause of blindness in the UK so it’s so important that people get checked for this. On the NHS, everybody with a diagnosis of diabetes is entitled to free eye checks and I cannot emphasise enough the importance of going regularly to the optician to get your eyesight checked and make sure that this isn’t happening. If it is happening there’s tweaks and changes that can happen to your medication. Better blood glucose control can help it and various other procedures that doctors can do but it really is absolutely key that people are getting this monitored and also the same with the diabetic ulcers – so foot ulcers where the skin breaks down and forms an open sore and because of the difficulties of circulation they can take a really long time to heal. Sometimes they can be started by very small, tiny cuts or relatively insignificant wounds and one of the problems with diabetes is that some of the change that happens to circulation can also affect the very fine delicate nerves that are in the bottom of the feet so that often people can have damage to their feet – they stand on a drawing pin for example – and because the nerves in their feet aren’t working quite as well as they should do, they don’t actually feel it, they don’t realise that they’ve caused any damage and then that over time can develop into an ulcer. So again that’s why it’s really important that people with a diagnosis of diabetes go regularly to the chiropodist or podiatrist and they are entitled to free foot care on the NHS.

Prevention of Diabetes

Patient Talk:- In terms of lifestyle, what can be done to prevent diabetes? Are there any suggestions or advice?

Max Pemberton:- So there’s a whole range of lifestyle changes that can be made. So losing weight is really important, doing regular exercise, and also if you know family members who have a diagnosis of diabetes already it is important that you go regularly to the doctor to see whether or not you need to get checked to see if you’ve got diabetes. It’s not always obvious when somebody first develops it. The kind of typical presentation, things like feeling thirsty or tired or weight loss, they only happen to about half of patients, the other half have diabetes and they’re not aware of it and it’s picked up on routine screening. If people want more information there’s a website that’s being setup specifically to help people understand this delicate balance that has to take place when you have diabetes between the high blood glucose and the low blood glucose levels and that website is www.diabeteshighsandlows.co.uk

Fear and shame leading to people with Type 2 diabetes risking future life threatening conditions

  • Research amongst patients with Type 2 Diabetes on insulin reveals how emotional and psychological factors are negatively impacting their condition
  • A quarter suffer from anxiety over getting hypos (low blood glucose levels) with more than 40% preferring to have high blood glucose levels instead of risking another hypo. This can lead to serious long term health risks
  • A new campaign launches today called ‘Diabetes Highs & Lows: Better Balance for a Better Future’ which highlights how emotional and psychological factors can have an impact on effective T2 diabetes management
  • The campaign includes the launch of a patient support website, DiabetesHighsAndLows.co.uk which is dedicated to helping patients with T2 diabetes better manage their blood glucose levels. The website is developed and funded by Sanofi.

A quarter of people with T2 diabetes feel anxious or fearful about ‘hypos’ (low blood glucose levels), with 42% preferring to have high blood glucose levels instead, despite the risk of life threatening conditions in the future.[i]

The findings also revealed that a significant proportion of patients with T2 diabetes believe that other people think they are to blame (15%), and some patients believe that other people think they are just greedy (14%) 1 . Likewise, 25% of patients with T2 diabetes only tell close friends, family or their healthcare professional about their diabetes, and 58% feel self-conscious or avoid injecting in front of other people, negative emotions are stopping people managing their condition properly.[i]

 Another Sanofi-funded study conducted in adults with Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes in the UK, and  published in the journal Diabetic Medicine, showed even modest improvement in blood glucose control could help prevent almost a million serious medical complications such as eye disease, kidney disease, foot ulcer and amputations, and potentially blindness, which could  avoid billions in future NHS costs.[ii]

With the UK having the worst control of T2 diabetes blood glucose levels in Europe[iii], Sanofi, who conducted the report, is launching a new patient support website to help the 52% of T2 diabetes patients who find it hard to balance their blood glucose levels.[i]

The Sanofi ‘Diabetes Highs and Lows: Better Balance for a Better future’ campaign aims to help people with Type 2 diabetes feel in control and positive about how they can balance their blood glucose levels. A new website, developed and funded by Sanofi has been launched, diabeteshighsandlows.co.uk, which includes key information on recognising and managing blood glucose highs and lows.

[i] Sanofi Data on File 2016. “Highs and lows: better balance for a better future” market research

[ii] Baxter et al, Estimating the impact of better management of glycaemic control in adults with Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes on the

number of clinical complications and the associated financial benefit. Diabetic Medicine (2016). DOI: 10.1111/dme.13062

[iii] Khunti K et al. Study of Once Daily Levemir (SOLVETM) insights into the timing of insulin initiation in people with poorly

controlled Type 2 diabetes in routine clinical practice. Diabetes, Obesity and Metabolism (2012)

Lifestyle Tips To Improve Circulation

Poor circulation is associated with a number of different medical conditions such as diabetes, obesity and Raynaud’s disease.

But plenty of us suffer from poor circulation so we thought we would share this useful infographic with a few useful lifestyle hits on how to improve your circulation.

 Lifestyle Tips To Improve Circulation (Infographic)
Presented By Therapy Stockings Compression Garments

Why People Living With Diabetes Need Strength Training

Why People Living With Diabetes Need Strength Training
Why People Living With Diabetes Need Strength Training

Diabetes is one of the most widespread diseases in the world, with an estimated 415 million people suffering from one type of this condition. It is a condition on the rise, with more and more people dying from it (or complications caused by it) each year and with a global economic cost that is rising well above half a trillion dollars every year.

Before we cover why strength training can be a great ally in the battle against diabetes, we should probably say a thing or two about the disease itself as it will help explain why strength training is so beneficial.

Diabetes 101

There are three main types of diabetes mellitus that people suffer from.

Type 1 DM, often called juvenile diabetes; type 2 DM, the most common type; and gestational diabetes is the third major type, and it develops in pregnant women who previously never had problems with blood sugar levels.

No matter what type of diabetes is in question, the patient has high blood sugar levels over a long period of time, leading to increased thirst and hunger, as well as more frequent urination. Over time, diabetes can cause vision impairment and skin rashes. More serious complications can include heart disease, chronic kidney failure, stroke, and foot ulcers.

Prevention and Management

While there is no known prevention for type 1 diabetes, type 2 diabetes can be effectively prevented or at least delayed by making smart lifestyle choices. This includes regular exercise, a healthy diet and maintaining a normal weight. If you are a smoker, giving up on the habit will also reduce your chances of developing type 2 diabetes.

When it comes to managing diabetes, it all comes down to keeping blood sugar levels as close to the normal levels as possible. Of course, it is also important to avoid low blood sugar levels. Besides regularly taking medications and/or insulin, management will also involve lifestyle habits. One of the most important of these habits is regular exercise.

The Importance of Exercise

For the most part, people who suffer from diabetes are recommended to engage in regular aerobic (cardio) training, i.e. training which involves running, cycling, swimming and walking and various iterations of this kind of training. Among other things, aerobic training helps the body burn excess glucose found in the body, as well as decrease its innate resistance to insulin. Its additional benefits also help diabetes patients manage their condition more effectively.

Underrated Strength Training

And while aerobic training is commonly recommended to diabetes patients, many of them are not familiar with all the great stuff strength training can do for them. Strength training involves mostly gym-specific workouts that involve weights and specialized gym equipment (including comfortable gym wear).

The most important thing strength training does is improve your muscle tone and build new muscle mass. Muscle is known to burn more calories than other types of tissue, meaning that you will reap the benefits of your strength training 24/7. In addition to this, building muscle mass will also help lower your insulin needs due to improving insulin sensitivity. Furthermore, during the actual strength training, your body will use glucose from your blood to power your muscles. Finally, this ability of toned muscles to store glucose more effectively than other tissues will help regulate blood sugar even when you are not working out.

A Word of Warning

It should be pointed out that you should never engage in any strength training before you consult your doctor. This is especially important for people suffering from type 1 diabetes, although people with type 2 should also always consult their doctor.

Closing Word

Most doctors and experts agree that combining the two types of exercise – aerobic and strength, will have the most positive effects on your blood sugar levels and diabetes in general.

The important thing is that you do not neglect strength training.