Around 1.7 million Australians have diabetes, including the 1.2 million people with any type of diagnosed diabetes and the estimated 500,000 people who have undiagnosed type 2 diabetes. When someone has diabetes, their body can’t maintain healthy levels of glucose (sugar) in the blood. For our bodies to work properly we need to convert glucose from food into energy. A hormone called insulin is essential for the conversion of glucose into energy. In people with diabetes, insulin is no longer produced or not produced in sufficient amounts by the body. Instead of being turned into energy the glucose stays in the blood resulting in high blood glucose levels.
TYPES I DIABETES
Type I Diabetes affects about 10-15% of all cases. It is an auto-immune condition in which the immune system is activated to destroy the cells in the pancreas (a large gland behind the stomach) which produces insulin. Although less common, type 1 is a life-threatening condition that cannot be prevented and needs to be closely managed daily. For more information about type 1 diabetes, head to: www.diabetesaustralia.com.au/type-1-diabetes
A condition in which blood glucose levels are higher than normal, although not high enough to be diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes. It is estimated 2million Australians have pre-diabetes and are at high risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Without sustained lifestyle changes approximately 1 in 3 people with pre-diabetes will developed diabetes.
TYPE 2 DIABETES
The most common form of diabetes, representing 85–90% of all cases of diabetes. Type 2 diabetes is a progressive condition in which the body becomes ineffective at managing its own blood glucose level, causing the body to become resistant to insulin and/or gradually loses the capacity to produce enough insulin. This means your body is building insulin resistance and is unable to effectively convert glucose into energy leaving too much glucose in the blood. The development of type 2 diabetes is associated with lifestyle risk factors and genetics.
Prevention and Management
Type 2 diabetes can be prevented or delayed in up to 58% of cases. As type 2 diabetes is a lifestyle disease, lowering your risk and modifying your risk factors is crucial, these include:
Monitoring blood glucose levels: If you have already been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, regular monitoring becomes important to ensure there is adequate control of blood glucose levels or whether adjustments are needed. Medications and insulin injections may be necessary depending on progression of condition.
Healthy Eating: eating nourishing foods and maintaining a healthy weight assists with managing blood glucose and cholesterol. Dietitians and Diabetes Educators are experts in this field and will help to develop a healthy eating plan for you.
Managing stress: Increased stress and anxiety can often lead to reduced mood, comfort eating and increased blood pressure.
Regular exercise: Every person benefits from exercise; whether it’s to manage a disease, rehab an injury or just to feel good. Exercise is particularly important in the prevention and management of diabetes. Exercise helps to:
Allow insulin work more effectively reducing chance of long-term complications such as amputations, kidney disease, eye issues and cardiovascular diseases.
Lowers your blood pressure and reduces risk of cardiovascular diseases
Improves muscular strength and endurance
Reduces stress and improves sleep and mood
Developing an exercise program consisting of both strengthening and aerobic exercises at least 4-5 times per week for at least 30 minutes is recommended. Exercise doesn’t need to be boring or a chore, but remember to start slow if you are new to exercise. Consult your doctor, diabetes educator or allied health professional such as an Exercise Physiologist, whom are trained at developing appropriate exercise programs for those with conditions such as diabetes.
280 Australians develop diabetes each day.
That’s one person every five minutes!
Don’t let this be you. Set a goal. Commit to a healthy lifestyle. Make yourself a priority.
You’ll thank yourself later.
Erin Glass is an accredited Exercise Physiologist at Eureka Osteo