What to know about type 2 diabetes

With more than 200 new cases of diabetes diagnosed in Australia each day, it’s unsurprising diabetes is becoming the nation’s fastest growing chronic condition.

According to the Australian Government, not only does Australia have an alarming rate of people with diabetes, 16 per cent of adults over the age of 25 (approximately 2.5 million people) have prediabetes – with many more people potentially unaware.

Prediabetes is defined as a person who has blood sugar levels higher than normal, but not sufficiently high to diagnose type 2 diabetes.

So, how can we put a stop to this growing chronic condition? Here’s what you need to know.

The facts

The World Health Organisation predicts diabetes will be the seventh leading cause of death by 2030.

In Australia, approximately 1.7 million people have diabetes, while another 2 million have a high-risk of developing it.

The direct cost of diabetes on the Australian economy is approximately $1.7 billion per year, while the indirect cost may be as high as $14 billion per year by 2020.

According to the Australian Government, indirect costs can include absence from work, reduced productivity, premature death, bereavement and early retirement.

Preventing diabetes

Diet and lifestyle changes are proven to be most effective for diabetes prevention, with some insurance companies around the world offering diabetes prevention programs for people at risk.

Make sure to exercise for at least 30 minutes each day with exercises including walking, cycling, jogging or swimming – while ensuring you maintain a healthy and balanced diet.

Some dietary recommendations include:

  • Decrease your intake of sugars and processed foods – this includes soft drinks and fruit juices. Instead, drink water, tea or coffee (without sugar)
  • Swap refined grains for whole grains – try brown rice instead of white rice, or wholemeal bread instead of white bread
  • Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables – eat at least two pieces of fruit and five vegetables each day
  • Eat healthier fats – although fat isn’t necessarily bad for you, it depends on the type of fat you’re eating. Saturated fats are associated with heart disease and risk of diabetes. Instead, try looking for foods which contain plant oils (for example, extra-virgin olive oil or canola oil) and those containing omega-3 fats (for example, walnuts or fish).
  • Avoid processed meat – although some meats are good for you, others (particularly processed meats) can increase your risk of diabetes. These meats include bacon or sausages.

Do you or someone you know suffer from type 2 diabetes?