National Diabetes Week
The 8-14 July is National Diabetes Week.
National Diabetes Week is an initiative of Diabetes Australia, and aims to ‘raise awareness about the importance of early detection and early treatment for all types of diabetes’.
Diabetes is a complex and chronic condition caused when the body can’t regulate insulin production (it either doesn’t produce enough or produces none at all). Insulin is a hormone that helps to convert glucose (found in bread, cereals, fruit, soda, flavoured milk and more) into energy – so when little or no insulin is present in the bloodstream, glucose levels rise and cause a range of short and long-term health conditions.
To make things more complicated, there are 3 main types of diabetes:
- Type 1 diabetes
- Type 2 diabetes
- Gestational diabetes
- Type 3 diabetes is a title that has been proposed for Alzheimer's disease which results from resistance to insulin in the brain.
Diabetes is the leading cause of preventable blindness and amputations in Australia. So how can you reduce your risk of developing diabetes (type 2)? The simple answer is staying healthy and managing any existing health conditions:
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Regular physical activity
- Eating healthy foods
- Managing blood pressure
- Managing cholesterol levels
- Not smoking
Maintain a healthy weight and participate in regular physical activity
Your optimum weight and how much physical activity you need to maintain your health depends on many factors, such as your age, gender, and any pre-existing conditions you might have.
If you aren’t sure about your healthy weight range or what kind of exercise you should be doing, ask your GP. Don’t become complacent with your health – just because you are in a healthy weight range doesn’t mean you’re doing enough exercise or eating as healthily as you should be.
Getting motivated to care for your overall physical health can sometimes be difficult, especially if you live a busy, fast-paced life like so many of us do in the 21st century. Tools like the Get on Track challenge are a great way to encourage daily physical activity – check it out!
Type 2 diabetes is usually treated with either oral medications (Metformin, Diamicron, Forxiga, Januvia etc) or injectables (Insulin, Byetta, etc.)
This costs you and the Commonwealth government a lot of money.
According to the Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute which is an independent Australian research institute, the total annual cost for Australians with type 2 diabetes is up to $6 billion including healthcare costs, the cost of carers and Commonwealth government subsidies.
The average annual healthcare cost per person with diabetes is $4,025 if there are no associated complications. However, this can rise to as much as $9,645 in people with both micro and macrovascular complications (chronic kidney disease, diabetic foot, diabetic eye disease). Reversing diabetes is a term that usually refers to a significant long-term improvement in insulin sensitivity in people with type 2 diabetes.
People with type 2 diabetes that are able to get their HbA1c below 6% without taking diabetes medication are said to have reversed or resolved their diabetes. This also known as putting diabetes into remission.
With time and dedication, type 2 diabetes can be reversed without taking medicines and the results can be very rewarding, with less tiredness and better all-round health.
If you would like to reverse diabetes and come off your diabetes medications, make an appointment to see Dr Sanjeev Balakrishnan at PMG.