Watching your waistline is not just about vanity, it’s about health

Written by: Dr Mark Vanderpump
Edited by: Top Doctors®

Despite the increased concern about our nation’s obesity and the fact that type 2 diabetes has tripled over the last 30 years, the term “prediabetes” has been recognised relatively recently.

Usually diagnosed between the ages of 40 and 70, prediabetes is when your blood sugar level is higher than it should be but not high enough to be considered as being within the diabetes range. However, associated with an increased risk of heart disease, high blood pressure and high cholesterol - it should not be dismissed.

What causes prediabetes?

If you’re overweight, especially if you carry fat centrally around your abdomen, your body is likely to be more insulin-resistant, meaning that it either doesn’t make enough insulin or it doesn’t use it well. For European men, this applies when the waist is greater than 102cm (40 inches) and for women, and Asian men,  when it’s more than 88cm (34.5 inches). And I hate to tell you this, but most people believe their waist to be least 7.5 cm (3 inches) less than it actually is. Sorry!

How is it diagnosed?

A blood test called glycosylated haemoglobin (HbA1c) assesses blood sugar levels over the preceding three months.

Take control if you have been diagnosed with prediabetes

Fortunately around 80% of cases can be delayed or prevented by actively pursuing a healthier lifestyle which entails:

• losing weight

• a low salt, sugar and fat diet which is rich in fruit and vegetables

• being more physically active and taking moderate exercise, such as walking 30 minutes per day for 5 days a week

By Dr Mark Vanderpump
Endocrinology, diabetes & metabolism

Dr Mark Vanderpump is a highly experienced consultant endocrinologist based in London who specialises in adrenal gland disorders, hyperparathyroidism and hyperthyroidism alongside hypothyroidism, thyroid disorders and diabetes. Furthermore he has significant expertise in treating polycystic ovaries (PCOS). He practices at The Physicians' Clinic, Wellington Diagnostics & Outpatients Centre and One Welbeck Digestive Health clinic.

Dr Vanderpump has had a career spanning over 30 years, and was previously a consultant physician and honorary senior lecturer in endocrinology and diabetes at the Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust. His main area of expertise is thyroid disease, but his clinical practice includes all aspects of diabetes and endocrinology. He also sees referrals of less frequently-occurring conditions such as thyroid cancer; pituitary conditions such as acromegaly; and adrenal disorders including Addison's disease, plus calcium and bone disorders.

Dr Vanderpump, who is highly qualified with an MBChB, MRCP and MD alongside a CCST and FRCP, did higher training in the West Midlands, North East England and North Staffordshire.

Dr Vanderpump is a respected figurehead in the endocrinology community. He is the former president of the British Thyroid Association and former chair of the London Consultants' Association.

He continues to lecture on diabetes and thyroid disease, is widely published in peer-reviewed journals and has published a book called Thyroid Disease (The Facts). He is also a member of the Royal College of Physicians (RCP), where he is also a fellow, the British Thyroid Association (BTA) and the Society of Endocrinology (SoE). Furthermore, he has professional membership of the Association of British Clinical Diabetologists (ABCD) , London Consultants' Association and the Independent Doctors Federation.   

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