Type 2 diabetes (T2D) is a disease characterised by insulin resistance or deficiency causing chronically high blood glucose levels.1 T2D is accountable for 85-90% of all diabetes cases and other serious health complications including cardiovascular disease, blindness, kidney failure, amputation and death.2 T2D can be caused by genetic disposition or more commonly, poor lifestyle choices. People that adopt a sedentary lifestyle are at a greater risk of developing the disease.
Other Risk factors include:
- Being overweight or obese (especially around the waist)
- Poor diet: High intake of sugar, saturated and trans fats, and salt.
- High blood pressure
- Non-modifiable risk factors: family history of diabetes, age (being older than 45 years), cultural background, history of gestational diabetes and gender.2
According to ABS, 4.6% of Australian females had diabetes in 2014 – 2015, and most were diagnosed at forty years of age.3 Thus, it is important to prevent or have an early action plan as 58% of the T2D cases were preventable.2 A pre-diabetic individual can stop the progression of the disease by identifying the risks early on and implementing healthy lifestyle choices.
Whilst some groups of people are more susceptible to T2D, it is important for individuals to actively engage in preventative measures, particularly those who are genetically predisposed to the disease. There are several preventative factors which are affordable, achievable and beneficial in improving overall health and wellbeing. Having a balanced diet and exercising regularly are the most effective measures which together, can help reduce excess weight that may have otherwise been instrumental in the onset of the disease. Additionally, these measures can delay, if not prevent T2D by up to 58%.2
Regular exercise and healthy eating are not necessarily characterised by having expensive gym memberships or following restrictive diets. Primarily, it is about becoming active in everyday life and being aware of what foods should be avoided, limited or incorporated. Other preventative measures include self-directed initiatives such as quitting smoking and consulting with a healthcare professional to monitor blood glucose levels and blood pressure.4
Take initiative of your health by:5,6
1. Becoming aware of T2D and the risks that may apply to you
2. Promoting healthy eating and regular exercise for you and your family
3. Going to regular consultations with your general practitioner
To find out your risk of developing T2D, Diabetes Australia7 is a useful online webpage for more information about the risks, symptoms and prevention strategies.
Additionally, the Australian Government Department of Health provides an online T2D risk assessment tool (AUSDRISK)8. If these risks apply to you, or you are concerned about your health, your general practitioner can provide you with further guidance and an individualised...