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Gloria Hunniford had a ‘sweet tooth’ that could have made her blind

Aged 82, Gloria Hunniford is still in good health, with her latest TV stint on Michael McIntyre’s The Wheel – a Saturday-night game show. A regular fixture on ITV’s Loose Women panellist and BBC’s Rip Off Britain, how does she have the energy? If it wasn’t for a revealing blood test back in 2013, things could have been very different for Hunniford.

Diagnosed with pre-diabetes, Hunniford told The Mirror: “My doctor said I was pre-diabetic and told me to take my life in my hands.

“That meant cutting out croissants, chocolate and biscuits – for, like my late sister Lena who struggled with diabetes, I had a sweet tooth.

“I’d dieted before but going on a medical diet gives you determination. I cut out all the sugar I could.”

Her diet overhaul resulted in blood readings that “fell into line”, meaning she was able to bring down her blood sugar reading to a healthy level.

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“Also, two stone dropped off me within weeks,” Hunniford added, stating she would eat for eggs in the morning, soup for lunch, and fish or meat with vegetables for dinner.

“For dessert, I opt for lots of berries and Greek yogurt, which can also act as a good snack,” Hunniford stated.

“When it comes to drink, white wine is full of sugar so I might have the occasional glass of red. But I’m not a big drinker.”

The charity Diabetes UK estimates that up to seven million people in the UK have pre-diabetes.

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Anybody who has received this warning is “15 time more likely to develop type 2 diabetes”.

“Recent research has shown pre-diabetes may already be causing long-term damage to the body, especially the heart and circulatory system,” the charity adds.

“Crucially, pre-diabetes can often be reversed and the risk of developing type 2 diabetes reduced by 60 percent.”

Three key ways to bring down an elevated blood sugar reading is to lose a moderate amount of weight, to adopt a healthy, balanced diet, and to increase physical activity levels.

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It’s crucial for a person’s health to prevent type 2 diabetes, as the long-term health consequences are vast.

High blood sugar levels, the epitome of type 2 diabetes, can lead to heart disease, stroke, kidney failure, amputation, and blindness.

“If you’re worried about pre-diabetes you could call your GP surgery and ask for a blood test,” Diabetes UK says.

“The most common test will be checking your HbA1c levels which is your average blood glucose (sugar) levels for the last two to three months.”

It is a good idea to get checked because pre-diabetes “doesn’t have any symptoms”.

If you do begin to develop symptoms, such as frequenting the toilet at night, then it’s likely it has already progressed to type 2 diabetes.

Signs of type 2 diabetes:

  • Going to the toilet more often, especially at night
  • Feeling more tired, because your body can’t get enough glucose in to your cells for energy
  • Losing weight without trying
  • Genital itching or thrush
  • Cuts and wounds taking longer to heal
  • Blurred vision
  • Feeling extremely thirsty.

Gloria Hunniford stars on Michael McIntyre’s The Wheel on BBC One, Saturday, November 19 at 6.45pm.

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