DIABETES FOUR SIGNS OF RISK
Have you ever considered being tested for diabetes? Maybe you just presume that it won’t happen to you? Or that it’s something that you will focus on later on, when you get old? Well, think again.
New research has revealed that over 280 Australians are diagnosed with diabetes every day; that’s one every five minutes! And what’s even scarier is that there is an estimated 500,000 Australians who have type 2 diabetes but haven’t yet been diagnosed – which means that they are not being treated. Diabetes is the fastest growing chronic condition in Australia. There’s a very real risk that you already have it or at least have its pre-cursor, ‘pre-diabetes’.
If any of the signs below ring true, you’re potentially at risk of pre-diabetes and I would urge you to talk to your doctor:
1. Apple-, pear-, cylinderor hourglass-shaped?
You may have too much fat around your waist. Women who have apple-, pear- or cylinder-shaped bodies often carry more weight around their waist than is healthy. Too much fat around your waist is an indicator of too much fat covering your organs which puts you at increased risk of type 2 diabetes. An easy test is to measure around your waist at the belly button level. If your waist measurement is greater than 80cm, it’s worth seeing your GP for a diabetes test.
2. Exercise is not part of your daily regime.
According to the most recent Australian Health Survey, less than 40% of Australian adults are meeting the recommended exercise requirements to avoid diabetes. We should all be undertaking a good 30 minutes of physical activity each day. This could mean riding your pushbike, going for a walk or doing an exercise class. Just like brushing your teeth, try to make it part of your daily regime.
3. Your genetic background may put you at a higher risk.
Are you of Pacific Island, Chinese, Indian or Aboriginal heritage? Women with these cultural backgrounds have a higher genetic disposition for developing diabetes. If you have one of these heritages, make sure you are regularly tested for diabetes.
AN ESTIMATED 500,000 AUSTRALIANS HAVE UNDIAGNOSED TYPE 2 DIABETES
4. You haven’t been tested for diabetes before.
Type 2 diabetes is a condition which can affect anyone, but it is influenced by a number of lifestyle factors and is preventable. It’s estimated that 2% of the Australian population have diabetes but don’t yet know it. As pre-diabetes and type 2 diabetes both have few visible symptoms, the only way to know if you have pre-diabetes or diabetes is to be tested. So, what are you waiting for?
How to check your pre-diabetic or diabetic status
If any of the points above ring true, it may be worth talking to your doctor or pharmacist about having a simple fasting blood glucose test to find out whether you have a prediabetic status.
If the test is inconclusive, your doctor may request you to undertake an oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT), where you will consume a sweet drink and then monitor how your body reacts over the next couple of hours. If after 2hrs, your Blood Glucose Levels (BGL) are within 7.8–11mmol/L, it indicates that your body isn’t processing the carbohydrate, glucose, as effectively as normal. You may be diagnosed with pre-diabetes. If the results are greater than 11mmol/L, you will most likely be diagnosed with diabetes.
You may be thinking that you’d rather not know, but not knowing won’t make it go away. Just like sun damage and skin cancer, prevention is better than cure. So for your own peace of mind and to be more in control of your own health, talk to your doctor and book in for a diabetes test for yourself.
Where can i go for help?
1. Check out Diabetes Australia’s simple online Diabetes Risk Calculator to discover your risk of pre-diabetes and type 2 diabetes at diabetes Australia. 2. Talk to your doctor about medically assessing your diabetes risk and get advice on how to change lifestyle habits and the support you may need, such as referral to an Accredited Exercise Physiologist. 3. Consider talking to an Accredited Practising Dietitian about improving your diet. 4. Live in Sydney? University of Sydney and the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital (RPA) are recruiting participants for a free clinical trial investigating the effects of two natural medicines on cholesterol and blood sugar control for the prevention of type 2 diabetes. Visit Metabolic trial site to discover if you are eligible to enrol in the trial.
Melanie McGrice, an Advanced Accredited Practising Dietitian, Director of Nutrition Plus, a dietetic practice in Melbourne, Australia. She is a highly respected nutrition blogger, journalist & media personality. She regularly speaks at conferences & consults for the media on nutrition & dietary topics. Author of
The Pregnancy Weight Plan. Contact Melanie via her website website.