What do you know about diabetes? Most of us know surprisingly little about this disease, even though it affects millions of Australians.
November 14 is World Diabetes Day. It’s a perfect time to educate yourself about what diabetes could mean for your kids – and yourself.
Diabetes cheat sheet:
- Diabetes comes in three varieties: Type 1, Type 2 and GDM (Gestational Diabetes)
Type 1 is hereditary and usually diagnosed in childhood. It has nothing to do with lifestyle – it’s an autoimmune condition caused by the body mistakenly destroying the insulin producing cells in the pancreas.
Type 2 is also hereditary but also has a strong link to less than ideal ‘lifestyle choices’.
- It's estimated 2 million Australians have pre-diabetes, a condition where blood glucose levels are higher than normal, putting people at high risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
- Around 90% of all people who have diabetes, have type 2 diabetes.
- People with type 1 diabetes need insulin injections and monitor blood glucose levels many times each day
- People with Type 2 diabetes may require medication including insulin injections, and also need to keep an eye on their blood glucose levels
- Women may develop gestational diabetes during pregnancy; this needs special care to make sure both mother and baby are healthy
- Healthy lifestyle choices are important for all people with diabetes regardless of the type – this means healthy eating, weight management and physical activity
- Potential complications of diabetes can be a concern for many, and may include amputation, heart attack, blindness, nerve or kidney damage.
Scared yet? You should be!
Type 2 diabetes used to be considered a disease of middle age. But these days, it is increasingly being diagnosed in younger people. Experts believe rising rates of childhood obesity are to blame.
Twenty years ago, just one in 10 young Australian adults was overweight or obese. By 2014, the figure had doubled to one in five.
In Australia today, around 2,200 people aged between 10 and 24 are living with type 2 diabetes.
Catching type 2 diabetes early is crucial and can help to minimise many of the disease’s complications.
By changing to a healthier diet and exercising, many type 2 diabetics can reduce their need for medication, and experience fewer complications over time.
This World Diabetes Day, the theme ‘Eye on Diabetes’. By keeping your eye on diabetes, you can help your family stay healthy and reduce their chances of type 2 diabetes.
Keep your eye on diabetes
- Reduce your family’s sugar intake. Check out some simple #sugarswaps you can make on our website
- Know the symptoms of diabetes. Many people have no symptoms for type 2 diabetes or confuse them with other issues. Seek help from your doctor if you notice them.
- Get active: Walk, swim, cycle with your kids on a daily basis.
Read more: Stephen's story on how he beat pre-diabetes