Up to 500,000 Australians are living with undiagnosed type 2 diabetes and don’t even know it. Could this be you?
National Diabetes Week (14 – 20 July) is focusing on raising awareness about the importance of early detection and early treatment for all types of diabetes. The tag line “it’s about time”, means that it’s about time we took the time to learn about the early warning signs of type 1 diabetes and to get checked for type 2 diabetes. Early diagnosis and treatment can greatly reduce our risk of a number of health complications.
Many people with type 2 diabetes will live with the condition for up to 7 years before it is diagnosed. By the time it is diagnosed, half of all people will have already developed at least one serious diabetes-related complication.
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 be dead in three months. Watch his testimonial below, and how he turned his lifestyle around when he first lost the colour in his vision…
Much of the damage is preventable if type 2 diabetes is diagnosed earlier
Type 2 diabetes is in fact the fastest growing chronic condition in Australia – this is preventable. Unlike type 1 diabetes, up to 58% of type 2 diabetes can be prevented.
People at risk of type 2 diabetes can delay and even prevent this condition 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.
Want to assess your risk of type 2 diabetes?
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://www.itsabouttime.org.au/.
Until next time, wishing you all great health and wellbeing…
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Diabetes Australia: https://www.diabetesaustralia.com.au/