THE prevalence of diabetes in adults is increasing worldwide, and it is predicted that by 2040, this condition will become one of the leading causes of death in South Africa. The International Diabetes Federation (IDF), Diabetes Atlas, also estimates that one in 11 adults currently has diabetes, and globally, the condition accounts for over 12.8% of deaths among people aged 20 to 791.However, in light of World Diabetes Day which took place on Wednesday, 14 November, Cipla’s Associate director of marketing in the portfolio Cardiovascular Diseases, Douglas Craythorne, highlighted that 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 diabetes. “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 cases. The disease is associated with a greater risk of heart disease and stroke. Some of the most common symptoms include frequent urination, feeling thirsty or hungry, fatigue and blurred vision. The good news is that type 2 diabetes can be avoided in the majority of cases, by making a few crucial lifestyle changes. 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 minimum. 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 vital.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 changes.“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.