Drivers have up to three times the risk of getting Diabetes


A recent study has found that drivers have up to three times the risk of getting type 2 diabetes.

For most people it’s a combination of reasons and these are the most common ones:

- You have a stressful job and stress hormones can raise your blood sugar which can contribute to diabetes.

- Most drivers do shift work or irregular hours – this can really affect how your metabolise sugar, poor sleep affects this also.

- Eating ‘on the go’. Many drivers have no option but to get takeaway meals and its harder to find decent healthy take out food especially if you are tired and think you need food that will give you a boost.

- Being overweight especially if you carry weight around your stomach area puts you at greater risk.

- You sit while working and while this may be the same for lots of workers drivers tend to have minimal movement for their shift.

- If you suffer from sleep apnoea you are at greater risk of type 2 diabetes.

Here’s 5 things to do that will really help you to decrease your risk from diabetes and its complications:

1. If  shift work is part of your work do your best to get 7/8 hours of sleep no matter what. Not getting enough sleep can increase your fat storage and make you feel more hungry when awake. You make memories when you are sleeping and this is when your brain gets rid of toxins. Don’t scrimp on sleep! If you get enough sleep but are still very tired it might be a good idea to see if you have sleep apnoea especially if you have a large collar size and are overweight.

2. There is no getting away from the fact that what we eat and drink is what most impacts our blood sugar. If you are someone that has weight around your middle then the chances are that you also have fat around your liver and other important internal bits! For most people, too much sugar and starch is what causes this problem. Swop milk chocolate for dark. Eat nuts (walnuts, almonds, pecans)  instead of crisps. The more sugar you eat the more you want. It’s addictive. Try eating cheese or full fat unsweetened yoghurt if you’re hungry. Fizzy drinks, fruit juices and diet drinks all increase your risk of diabetes and being overweight. Stick to water, unsweetened tea & coffee.  

3. Eat less bread, white rice and pasta. As soon as they leave your mouth they have a similar effect to sugar. If lunch has to be a sandwich have thin slices of bread or a small wrap (preferably brown) instead of a roll. Ideally bring your own lunch box – stuff a wholemeal pitta bread with cheese, tomatoes and peppers. Avocado and hummus is filling.  If you like cold egg or some chicken/tinned salmon/tuna that’s a quick and easy lunch and easy to add to the above.  Limit the amount of processed food – it just makes you hungry, fat and eventually sick. No fun in that.

4. Look at what’s stressing you. Then see what you can change and what’s out of your control. If you can’t change it you have to find a way to live with it, that’s all that you can control. Walks or time in nature is one of the best prescriptions of all. Simple breathing techniques or guided relaxations can help a lot. Some people find writing helps. This works by either writing about your stresses or writing all that’s good in your life. Decreasing stress will help your blood sugars as well as blood pressure and your immune system. It can’t be ignored.

5. Keep on Moving. There’s so much focus on exercise and clearly it’s important but doing a quick work out in the morning and then sitting for the rest of the day behind the wheel, then going home to sit in front of TV is not okay. Simple stretching or taking a brisk short walk a  few times  in the day is great -  it all counts for your blood sugar and your heart health. Recent headlines about ‘sitting being the new smoking’ were claiming that the health risks of not moving are as bad as smoking. Every bit counts, and it will make a difference.

There is so much you can do to lower your risk of diabetes, give you more energy and enjoy a long healthy life free of any complications.

The Diabetes Dept. is doing an ANONYMOUS survey on driver health. It takes 2/3 minutes to fill it in. Please share it with other drivers so we can get more information and understand why drivers are at higher risk for some serious diseases and what we can do to help it. Here’s the link