Health & lifestyle
There is a lot of talk about diabetes, but do you actually know what it is or how it can affect you? The number of people living with diabetes has more than doubled since the 1990s, so it is possible that you or someone you know has, or is at risk of developing, diabetes. And if you are an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander, then you are three times more likely to have diabetes compared with a non-Indigenous person. People who have diabetes can still live a full and enjoyable life, but there are some things they need to do to ensure that they manage the condition as best they can.
What is all the talk about?
Diabetes is a chronic illness in which the body does not produce enough insulin. Put simply, the body uses insulin to produce energy from glucose (sugar) and without it, or if the insulin is not working properly, the body will try to make energy by burning fat. This approach to energy production can lead to serious health problems, such as cardiovascular, eye and kidney diseases.
There are two types of diabetes – Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes. In Type 1 diabetes the person produces no insulin and requires daily injections. In Type 2 diabetes some insulin may be produced, but it is either not enough or doesn’t work properly. Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes. Depending on the severity of the illness, it can often be managed through diet and exercise.
Diabetes and your diet
In this video, we speak to Cameron Johnson, a dietitian from the Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute, on diet considerations in the prevention and management of type 2 diabetes.
Being proactive about diabetes
Unlike Type 1 diabetes, Type 2 diabetes can be prevented. In fact, according to Diabetes Australia it is estimated that up to 60 per cent of Type 2 diabetes can be prevented or at least delayed by following a healthy lifestyle. This includes keeping active, eating well, maintaining a healthy weight, managing blood pressure and cholesterol levels, and not smoking.
As a precautionary measure, many GPs now screen all patients over 40 for diabetes to ensure they can provide early treatment. If you are concerned that you may be at risk of Type 2 diabetes, why not speak to your doctor or take advantage of the Department of Health and Ageing’s free Type 2 diabetes risk assessment tool.
The message is clear: whether you have diabetes or not, looking after your health and making positive lifestyle changes can lead to a range of benefits.
Why don’t you talk to your doctor about what you can do to keep fit and healthy for longer?
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Want to know more?
To help you find out more about the causes, prevention and management of diabetes we have put together some relevant diabetes links and resources.
This article is based on information sourced from Diabetes Australia.
Sun, 3rd March 2013, Physical and mental health
Learn more about diabetes by visiting these diabetes peak body websites.