Type 2 diabetes is the fastest growing chronic condition in Australia…

National Diabetes Week (12 – 18 July) is not only focusing on raising awareness about the importance of early detection and early treatment for all types of diabetes, but is also focusing on the emotional and mental health impact of people living with diabetes.

It is estimated that people with diabetes face multiple decisions every day – they can make up to 180 decisions related to their diabetes every single day! As a result, many people experience burnout, anxiety and psychological distress which can affect their daily life, including their ability to manage their diabetes, as well as their relationships and their interactions at work or school.

Don’t think it’s that serious? Take a look at the short video below which highlights a day in the life of someone who has diabetes.

Imagine this was your day? How would you feel and how would you cope with these added pressures on a daily basis?

Did you know that much of the damage is preventable if type 2 diabetes is diagnosed earlier?

Unlike type 1 diabetes, up to 58% of type 2 diabetes can be prevented by following a healthy lifestyle. This includes:

* Making healthy food choices and maintaining a healthy weight 

Eat a nutritious diet filled with fresh fruit and vegetables, lean protein, wholegrains and dairy, and choose the right portion sizes for you.

Try and limit high calorie foods and drinks, and instead drink plenty of water.

Try to maintain a healthy weight. Abdominal fat (around the belly) increases the risk of chronic ill health, including diabetes…

* Participating in regular physical activity

Exercising regularly is one of the most effective ways to not only keep your weight in check and improve your mood and overall wellbeing, but will also help control your glucose/blood sugar levels and help reduce your risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

Remember, you don’t need to set aside long periods of time to exercise. Break down a 30 minute workout into 10 minute sessions throughout the day – it has the same benefits. Even a short walk around the block can do wonders.

Prolonged sitting also leads to poorer health outcomes, including the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, heart disease and some cancers. Move more and sit less as often as you can.

* Stopping smoking

Quit as soon as you can. Not only will stopping smoking reduce your risk of developing diabetes (and other smoking related diseases), but quitting will also save you lots of money, as well as improve your mental health and overall wellbeing.

* Managing blood pressure

Do all of the above, including reducing your salt intake, as well as limiting the amount of alcohol you drink.

* Managing cholesterol levels

Make the above lifestyle changes to help reduce high cholesterol levels, including reducing your alcohol intake.

Early diagnosis and treatment can greatly reduce the risk of a number of health complications 

What are the complications? Type 2 diabetes can damage blood vessels and nerves, and can cause:

  • vision loss – diabetes is the leading cause of blindness in adults
  • amputations – there are more than 4,400 amputations every year in Australia, as a result of diabetes
  • heart attacks and stroke – diabetes increases the risk of heart attacks and stroke by up to four times
  • kidney damage – diabetes is a leading cause of kidney failure and dialysis

In Australia, one person every five minutes develops diabetes – that’s 280 Australians every day. Think that this won’t happen to you?

Dave thought the same. He was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes at 39 years old and was told that if he didn’t make changes to his lifestyle, he would lose his life in three months’ time. Watch his testimonial below, and how he turned his lifestyle around when he first lost the colour in his vision…

Could you be at risk? Want to assess your risk of type 2 diabetes?

Up to 500,000 Australians are living with undiagnosed type 2 diabetes and don’t even know it. Could this be you?

Diabetes Australia is encouraging all Australians to assess their type 2 diabetes risk by taking a quick online risk assessment as well as visiting your doctor if you’re over the age of 40. To find out if you’re at risk of developing type 2 diabetes, complete the risk calculator at https://www.diabetesaustralia.com.au/risk-calculator.

If you would like further information about Diabetes Week, visit https://headsupdiabetes.com.au/.

Struggling with your mental health and need some support?

Whether you currently live with diabetes or not, there are a number of support services that can help you during the global pandemic.

Speak to your doctor for further information and/or call Lifeline on 131 114 if you have suicidal thoughts and/or are experiencing a crisis. Lifeline is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Beyond Blue can also help. They have online support available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and there’s an online community forum where you can also connect with other people.

The Government’s digital mental health gateway, Head to Health can furthermore help. It highlights a range of resources that are currently available, including how you can support someone else.

Until next time, wishing you all great health and wellbeing…

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REFERENCES:         

Diabetes Australia: https://www.diabetesaustralia.com.au/

https://headsupdiabetes.com.au/