Type 2 diabetes is a chronic disease marked by high levels of sugar in the blood. It occurs when the body does not produce enough insulin (a hormone released by the pancreas) or respond well enough to insulin.
Type 2 Diabetes is the most common form of diabetes. There are approximately 1 million people with type 2 diabtes currently. This figure is expected to increase significantly in the coming years.
People with diabetes have a higher risk of developing heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, circulation problems, lower limb amputations, nerve damage and damage to the kidneys and eyes.
Many Australians, particularly those over 40, are at risk of developing type 2 diabetes through lifestyle factors such as physical inactivity and poor nutrition. Family history of diabetes and genetics also play a role in type 2 diabetes.
What can you do to lower your risk of developing type 2 diabetes?
Your lifestyle choices can prevent or, at least, delay the onset of type 2 diabetes.
You cannot change risk factors like age and your genetic background. You can do something about being overweight, your waist measurement, how active you are, eating habits, or smoking.
If there is type 2 diabetes in your family, you should be careful not to put on weight. Reducing your waist measurement reduces your risk of type 2 diabetes.
By increasing your physical activity and improving your eating habits you can lower your risk. Eat plenty of vegetables and high fibre cereal products every day and use a small amount of fats and oils. Monounsaturated oils, such as olive or canola oil, are the best choice.
You can have type 2 diabetes and not know it because there may be no obvious symptoms.
If you would like to assess your risk complete The Australian Type 2 Risk Assessment Tool survey and discuss your score with your GP.