What is diabetes?

There are 2 main types of diabetes. Type 1 Diabetes (in which most people are genetically susceptible) is an autoimmune condition in which the immune system seeks to attack and destroy cells within the pancreas (called beta-cells) that produce insulin. The cause of this auto-immune reaction is still unknown, and while medication and lifestyle factors can delay the causative effects, there still is no direct cure.

What is insulin? Insulin is a hormone produced within the pancreas. It collects glucose from the blood and allows it to be absorbed into the tissues, organs and muscles for energy.

The maintenance of Type 1 Diabetes is dependent on a healthy, Low GI diet, with professional nutritional guidance.

Type II Diabetes Mellitus is the most common form of diabetes world wide- particularly within Australia.

Type II diabetes is a progressive condition, where the body either becomes resistant to the effects of insulin, or the beta-cells in the pancreas gradually lose the ability to produce enough insulin. Both of these factors cause high blood glucose levels within the body, as there is either not enough insulin available to assist in the metabolism of glucose, or the body is not responding to the insulin receptors that are needed to assist in glucose metabolism. While the exact cause of T2DM is still unknown, there are extremely strong links connecting T2DM with unhealthy lifestyle and dietary factors. Large amounts of research have been conducted in regards to lifestyle factors and it’s link to T2DM, concluding that physical inactivity, obesity and a highly refined/processed diet strongly contributes to the development of T2DM.

As obesity levels have risen over the years, so has the prevalence of T2DM. In 2012, over ½ of the Australian population with T2DM, were deemed as overweight or obese, and 3/5 cases were also diagnosed with cardiovascular diseases. This shows us that being overweight, or being at risk of cardiovascular diseases, are high risks factors for developing diabetes and visa-versa.

As a whole, diabetes currently affects 4% of the Australian population (approximately 999,000 people). Of this 999,000 people, it is estimated that over 848,000 (85%) have Type II diabetes, with only 10% suffering from Type 1.

Here is another fact for you- 280 Australians develop diabetes every day- that’s 1 person every 5 minutes.

So, what are the symptoms of T2DM? In some cases, individuals may have no symptoms at all. The most common symptoms include excessive thirst, frequent urination, fatigue or lethargy, constant hunger, having cuts that heal slowly, blurred vision, headaches or dizziness, mood swings, gradual weight gain, and leg cramps. If you feel as though you have multiple of these symptoms, contact your local GP.

What can I do to reduce the risk of developing T2DM? Eat healthy and exercise! A diet high in protein, good fats and good quality carbohydrates, along with regular exercise has been shown to dramatically reduce the risk of developing Type II Diabetes. Eating regular meals will also stabilize blood sugar levels, further reducing the risk of developing T2DM.

For more information on how to reduce the risk of T2DM, contact me, Krystal Holt.

0402 33 44 21