Preventing diabetes – key to a longer and better life

Preventing diabetes – key to a longer and better life

The prevalence of diabetes in adults is increasing worldwide1, and it is predicted that by 2040, this condition will become one of the leading causes of death in South Africa2. The International Diabetes Federation (IDF), Diabetes Atlas, also estimates that one in 11 adults currently has diabetes3, and globally, the condition accounts for over 12.8% of deaths among people aged 20 to 791.

However,with the focus on diabetes this month, Cipla’s Associate Director of Marketing in the portfolio Cardiovascular Diseases, Douglas Craythorne, highlights there are effective approaches available that can largely prevent type 2 diabetes and help to prevent the complications and premature death that can result from all types of diabetes4. “It is therefore vital that individuals at risk of developing the disease are educated on the appropriate preventative measures. Equally, individuals who have already been diagnosed with diabetes should understand how to best manage their condition.”

Type 2 diabetes, commonly referred to as adult-onset diabetes, accounts for approximately 87 – 91% of all cases1. The disease is associated with a greater risk of heart disease and stroke4. Some of the most common symptoms include frequent urination, feeling thirsty or hungry, fatigue and blurred vision4.

The good news is that type 2 diabetes can be avoided in the majority of cases, by making a few crucial lifestyle changes5. This includes firstly making changes to one’s diet, for example limiting the intake of red meat and processed meats and replace it by eating more nuts, whole grains, poultry and fish. Good fats, such as the polyunsaturated fats found in liquid vegetable oils, nuts and seeds can also help to ward off type 2 diabetes. Finally, sugary drinks and treats should be kept to a minimum5.

In addition to this, individuals should make it a priority to control their weight, as obesity also greatly increases the risk of developing this disease. Regular exercise and quitting smoking are vital4.

Individuals who already have type 2 diabetes should also try to follow these guidelines, as well as commit to the necessary interventions that their doctor recommends. Research has shown that it may even be possible to reverse type 2 diabetes through ongoing treatment and sustained, appropriate lifestyle changes4.

“With more and more South Africans falling prey to this preventable disease, it is becoming more vital than ever that everyone learns to recognise the early signs of diabetes and take the necessary steps to avoid becoming part of the statistic,” concludes Craythorne.


  1. Ogurtsova, K. IDF Diabetes Atlas: Global estimates for the prevalence of diabetes for 2015 and 2040. Diabetes Res. Clin. Pract. 128, 40–50 (2017).
  2. Lancet. How healthy will people in South Africa be in 2040? Lancet – Health Forecasting Available at: releases – global and country-specific%2FPress releases – Country-specific (ENGLISH) .
  3. Lee, M.-S. IDF Diabetes Atlas: Executive Summary. Environ. Health 9 (2015). doi:10.1186/1476-069X-11-18
  4. World Health Organisation. Global report on diabetes. WHO 58, 1–88 (2016).
  5. Harvard School of Public Health. Simple Steps to Preventing Diabetes. Available at:
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