IT’S TIME TO FACE THE FACTS
Diabetes – it’s a word we hear a lot these days. You may know someone who has it, or you might have been told you’re at risk. And when it comes to the alarming stats on just how many Australians are affected by the illness, it’s more than just a word – it’s something we should all be paying more attention to. According to Diabetes Australia, diabetes is the fastest-growing chronic condition in the country, with 208 people developing the illness every day – that’s one person every five minutes.
So what do we know about the disease? The good news is, you can lower your risk of type 2 diabetes with some diet and lifestyle changes. Type 1 diabetes is not preventable, but can be successfully managed with the right support. Here, we take a closer look at the facts.
Type 1 or 2 – what’s the difference?
According to Diabetes Australia, type 2 diabetes accounts for 85-90 per cent of all diabetes cases, and is most common in those aged over 45, although younger people are increasingly affected. Type 2 diabetes is a progressive condition in which the body becomes resistant to the normal effects of insulin and/or gradually loses the capacity to produce enough insulin in the pancreas. Type 1 diabetes is an auto-immune condition in which the immune system is activated to destroy the cells in the pancreas which produce insulin. Type 1 diabetes is not linked to lifestyle factors, and cannot be cured or prevented. About 10-15 per cent of all cases of diabetes are type 1.
Know the risks
Despite extensive research, experts don’t know exactly what causes either type of diabetes. There is a genetic link for type 2 diabetes, but science has proven the risk of developing the disease is greatly increased by a range of lifestyle factors, including: » having high blood pressure » being overweight or obese (especially when most of the weight is carried around the waist) » having low levels of physical activity » smoking » a poor diet that is high in processed foods
Signs to watch out for
Symptoms of diabetes can be vague, but some of the common signs for both type 1 and type 2 diabetes include: » Excessive thirst » Feeling tired and lethargic » Passing more urine » Blurred vision » Feeling dizzy » Headaches » Leg cramps
Type 1 diabetes can be successfully managed