World Diabetes Day, celebrated every year on November 14th, is an international event that aims to raise awareness of the condition. This year the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) is leading a new “Eyes on Diabetes” campaign to highlight the risk of diabetes eye disease that leads to blindness. The IDF estimates that worldwide, 415 million people have diabetes and 93 million of these have diabetic retinopathy, a complication of diabetes that leads to blindness.
Diabetes is a complex condition, affecting approximately 1.7 million people in Australia and has the potential to affect the entire body. Diabetes requires daily self-care and if left untreated can detrimentally impact quality of life and reduce life expectancy. There is currently no cure for diabetes, although, by learning about the condition and effectively managing it, you can live an enjoyable life.
There are three different types of diabetes; type 1, type 2 and gestational diabetes. All are complex and serious. When someone has diabetes, their body is unable to produce a sufficient amount of the hormone insulin. Unhealthy levels of glucose in the blood can lead to long term and short term health complications.
The exact cause of type 1 diabetes is not yet known, however, it does have a strong family link and cannot be prevented. In addition, type 1 diabetes has nothing to do with lifestyle, although maintaining a healthy lifestyle is vital in helping to manage the condition.
Type 2 diabetes is a progressive condition in which the body becomes resistant to the normal effects of insulin and/or gradually loses the capacity to produce enough insulin in the pancreas. The cause of type 2 diabetes in unknown, although, it is associated with modifiable lifestyle risk factors and possesses strong genetic and family related risk factors.
Below is a list of symptoms that arise from diabetes. Type 1 and type 2 both carry the same symptoms with one differentiating factor – type 1 often causes unexplained weight loss and type 2 often causes gradual weight gain.
- Being excessively thirsty
- Passing more urine
- Feeling tired and lethargic
- Always feeling hungry
- Having cuts that heal slowly
- Itching, skin infections
- Blurred vision
- Mood swings
- Feeling dizzy
- Leg cramps.
Fast facts about diabetes:
- 280 Australians develop diabetes every day. That’s one person every five minutes
- It is the fastest growing chronic condition in Australia
- More than 100,000 Australians have developed diabetes in the past year
- For every person diagnosed with diabetes there is usually a family member or carer who also ‘lives with diabetes’ every day in a support role. This means that an estimated 2.4 million Australians are affected by diabetes every day
- In 2013, diabetes caused 5.1 million deaths globally.
The International Diabetes Federation have produced a practical guide on how to get involved in World Diabetes Day- you can download it from their website; www.diabetesaustralia.com.au
Arche Health offers a FREE 16- week weight loss program for people with a BMI over 30 that are over 18, not pregnant and able to walk 300m unaided. This program offers 16 weeks of group classes conducted by an Accredited Exercise Physiologists and 7 appointments with a dietician. For more information call 9458 0596.