Diabetes is one of Australia’s fastest growing chronic health conditions. It is estimated that over 1.9 million Australians live with Diabetes, and approximately 300 people are newly diagnosed each day, or one new person diagnosed every 5 minutes!
It is also estimated that Diabetes costs the Australian healthcare system approximately $14 billion every year. Sadly, the majority of new diabetes diagnoses are completely preventable through living a healthy lifestyle.
With Diabetes being such a prevalent, yet preventable disease, let’s discuss 5 facts that you may not have been aware of.
1. There are different Types of Diabetes. The most common types are Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes. Both are developed when Insulin does not work as it should. However, Type 1 Diabetes is actually an Auto-Immune condition, meaning the body attacks the Pancreas so it can no longer produce sufficient amounts of Insulin to keep blood sugar levels at a healthy level. Type 2 Diabetes is largely influenced by environmental and lifestyle factors such as diet and exercise. Another diagnosis may be Gestational Diabetes, diagnosed during pregnancy.
2. Being active reduces your risk of developing Diabetes. Regular physical activity has the potential to reduce the risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes due to the positive influence it has on Insulin sensitivity and glucose regulation. Exercise helps to regulate insulin sensitivity, promote a healthy body weight, improve energy levels and reduce the risk of developing other conditions such as heart disease. Exercise can also help those with Gestational Diabetes. For those with Type 1 Diabetes, exercise is important, however needs to be managed carefully to reduce the risk of hypoglycaemia.
3. Diabetes can lead to other chronic health conditions. Unfortunately, when a person is diagnosed with Diabetes, the risk for developing other chronic health conditions increase, such as heart disease, obesity and stroke. By continuing to exercise and maintain a healthy diet after a Diabetes diagnosis, the risk of developing other conditions can be minimised.
4. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians are at an increased risk. Statistically, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians are four times more likely to be diagnosed with diabetes than non-Indigenous Australians
5. Diabetes can cause serious, life threatening problems. If left untreated, Diabetes can lead to serious health consequences such as blindness, amputation, neuropathy and even death. Once a diagnosis has been made, it’s essential that the correct treatment management plan is created and followed to allow for a long-term healthy lifestyle.
If you have been diagnosed with Diabetes it is important to consider how exercise can slot into your lifestyle to help manage symptoms and further health consequences. By engaging with an Exercise Physiologist you can gain the support you need to help manage your condition and limit and long-term health problems.