Great Health Guide - - NUTRITION - Words: Me­lanie McGrice De­sign: Olek­san­dra Zuieva

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.


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.

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