Why Diabetes should feature prominently in occupational health advice
As employers, encouraging health screening for diabetes is well worthwhile as diabetes is a common life-long health condition and, as such, can have a big impact on health in the workplace. What’s more, up to 58% of cases of Type 2 diabetes can be delayed or prevented by making simple changes to our lifestyle!
What is Diabetes?
Insulin is a hormone that allows glucose (which comes form the foods you eat) to enter the body’s cells to be used as fuel for energy. Diabetes develops when glucose can’t enter the body’s cells and there are two types:
- Type 1 diabetes cannot be prevented because the body’s immune system destroys the insulin producing cells. It usually appears before the age of 40 and particularly in childhood.
- About 90% of people with diabetes have Type 2 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes occurs when the body doesn’t produce enough insulin, or the body’s cells don’t react to insulin. It is caused by a combination of our genes and our lifestyle.
How big a problem is it?
- There are over 3 million people diagnosed with diabetes in the UK.
- An estimated 600,000 people have the condition, but don’t know it;
- 11.5 million people in the UK are considered at increased risk of getting diabetes (Diabetes UK).
Which groups are more at risk of Type 2 Diabetes?
Historically there are certain groups more at risk, but with obesity becoming more of a problem in recent years, being overweight and/or having a large waist can put you more at risk. Research has defined a large waist, in this context, as more than 80cm for women and 90-94 cm in men.
Other groups at risk are those who:
- are from an African-Caribbean, Black African, Chinese or South Asian and over 25
- have a parent or sibling with diabetes
- have had high blood pressure, a heart attack or stroke
- have a history of polycystic ovaries, gestational diabetes or have given birth to a baby over 10 pounds (4.5kg)
- suffer from schizophrenia, bipolar illness or depression
What can employers do?
Paying more attention to the physical health and fundamental needs of staff and encouraging them to make lifestyle changes to can reduce diabetes risk and make a big difference to general health in the workplace. If your employees are looking after themselves well they are more likely to meet targets and less likely to take time off due to stress and anxiety.
Medigold Health have a strong track record in the provision of occupational health advice and are there to help if your employees are struggling with health problems. We can also help you put preventative measures in place so you can spot the warning signs are there before they become a bigger issue.
Contact Medigold Health today to find out how we can help improve the health of your staff.