This week is National Diabetes Week, an opportunity to discuss the different aspects of the disease and the growing number of cases in Australia.
You may be aware that there are 2 types of Diabetes - Type 1, and Type 2.
It is often assumed that Type 2 diabetics are overweight and do not require insulin, and that Type 1 diabetics are all thin. These are generalisations, and of course there are many exceptions to the rules.
We have compiled a little table to provide a brief overview of the GENERAL presentations of the different type of Diabetes.
Here at Bayside Health Nook we are always focused on disease prevention, so we thought we would start by taking a closer look at Pre-Diabetes.
Pre-diabetes is not diabetes – yet.
It is a condition where the blood glucose (sugar) levels are not high enough to be classified as Type 2 diabetes, but are above the normal range.
Having pre-diabetes greatly increases the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, and without appropriate management 1 in 3 people will transition from pre-diabetic to a diagnosis of Type 2 diabetes.
Two separate conditions fall under the umbrella term of “pre-diabetes”:
Impaired fasting glucose (IFG) – where the amount of glucose in the blood after not eating for 8 hours is higher than usual but doesn’t rise unusually after consuming sugars.
Impaired glucose tolerance (IGT) – where the blood glucose rises higher than usual after consuming sugars (tested using a sweetened drink)
Pre-diabetes does not usually have any symptoms, and so your Doctor may order a test based solely on your risk factors.
The risk factors for pre-diabetes and type 2 diabetes are similar:
Increased BMI / being overweight
Waistline girth >80cm for females and >94cm for males
High Blood Pressure
High total cholesterol or high triglycerides with low HDL-C (good cholesterol)
Family History of heart disease
Family History of type 2 diabetes
Certain population groups are also at a higher risk:
Women with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome
Women who had gestational diabetes during pregnancy
Women who have given birth to a baby weighing >4.5Kg
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander background or with backgrounds in the Pacific Islands, Asia and the Indian sub-continent
Diabetes Australia have an online calculator which allows you to find out your risk of developing type 2 diabetes in the next 5 years. Because the risk factors for pre-diabetes are the same you can use this calculator, bearing in mind that pre-diabetes could develop sooner. If you fall in any category above “low” then you should discuss your individual risk factors with your GP.
The same lifestyle changes that are recommended for people with type 2 diabetes are also used for pre-diabetics. With appropriate management you can delay the onset of type 2 diabetes or even reduce the risk of developing it at all.
Strong international evidence show that diabetes prevention programs can do a lot to prevent type 2 diabetes by:
Losing weight (even 5-10% can make a big difference) and aiming to maintain a healthy weight range
Increasing physical activity and taking part in regular exercise
Healthy food choices
Managing blood pressure
Managing cholesterol levels
In Queensland our state-run prevention program is “My Health for Life” which is a FREE healthy lifestyle program for people at high risk of type 2 diabetes and also other chronic diseases like heart disease and stroke. The program supports participants to make positive behaviour changes to help them achieve a healthier lifestyle, and reduce their risk of developing a chronic health condition.