Become a nap hand at spotting diabetes

New research has shown that dozing off for more than an hour per day could increase your chances of getting diabetes by 45 per cent.

But local GP Dr Zahid Chauhan believes there are better ways of combatting the disease – including spotting its symptoms and getting it diagnosed quickly.

The family doctor from the Dale Street Practice within Nye Bevan House, said: “The researchers from the University of Tokyo believe that a nap of over an hour during the day breaks your natural sleep cycle and so increases your risk of diabetes.

Their findings are interesting but are yet to be proved fully. What we do know is that an unhealthy diet plus a lack of exercise can mean your body does not produce enough insulin. This results in diabetes – a serious condition which affects four million people in the UK. Those from South Asian communities are particularly prone because of genetic reasons, diet and sedentary lifestyles.

There are two forms of diabetes, Type 1 and Type 2.  Caused mostly by genetics, Type 1 diabetes results in the immune system attacking the healthy cells in our pancreas by mistake. The symptoms come on very quickly and treatment will almost certainly include regular insulin injections. Those with Type 2 won’t necessarily need a needle, but will have to look after themselves far better and make regular check-ups part of their daily routine.

Patients with both strains of diabetes suffer from a lack of energy, as food isn’t producing the necessary fuel they need. Signs of diabetes could include:

  • Feeling very thirsty
  • Going to the toilet more often than usual, particularly at night
  • Feeling very tired
  • Sudden weight loss and loss of muscle bulk.

It’s very important to diagnose diabetes as early as possible because it will get progressively worse if left untreated. Kidney and nerve damage and sight and foot problems can be the result of not tackling the condition properly. If you have diabetes, you’re also up to five times more likely to develop heart disease or have a stroke.

It is vital to see your GP if you are worried about diabetes. Together we will draw up a plan of treatment but more importantly think about how you can manage the condition. This will include more exercise and a better diet (if you are a smoker you will also receive support on giving up) but also advice on checking your eyes, feet and blood sugar regularly and even where to find support groups.

Diabetes is a worrying condition particularly in Rochdale and other parts of Greater Manchester, but the best way to beat it is to insure we all live healthier lifestyles and don’t develop diabetes in the first place. But a diagnosis is not the end of the world and is a signal to take greater responsibility for your health. If you have diabetes it really is a case of if you snooze – you lose. ”