IT’S TIME TO FACE THE FACTS

Good Health (Australia) - - Be Informed -

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

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