Are you at risk of type 2 diabetes?

Are you at risk of type 2 diabetes? teaser
You’ve probably heard a lot in the media about the “obesity epidemic “and the increasing incidence of type 2 diabetes.  In Australia around 1.7 million people have diabetes and type 2 accounts for over 85% of all cases, making it by far the most prevalent.  So, what factors might increase your risk? 

Being over 55 - the reality is that our risk increases with our age, however, type 2 diabetes is increasingly being seen in younger people as well.

Family history of diabetes – your genes may mean you have a higher risk of developing diabetes, but it does not mean that it is inevitable.  This risk usually needs to be combined with environmental factors for type 2 to develop.

History of gestational diabetes (diabetes in pregnancy) – although after the birth of the baby blood glucose levels usually return to normal, the risk is increased for developing type 2 diabetes later on.

Ethnicity – if you are of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Island, Pacific Island, Chinese, Indian or Maori heritage , your risk for developing type 2 diabetes is higher.

Overweight – particularly if you are the classic “apple” shape with the concentration of fat around the middle, which can have an impact on insulin resistance.

Sleep Apnoea – it is believed that the interruption to regular sleep patterns puts stress on the body which can impact on insulin sensitivity among other things.

What can you do to reduce your risk?

Eat a healthy, balanced diet - eat a wide variety of fresh nutritious foods and limit processed food high in salt, sugar and fat.

Be as active as possible - regular physical activity can not only help control weight but is an important part of staying healthy.

Maintain a healthy weight – If being overweight is a problem then even a modest amount of weight loss can help decrease your risk.  Following the first two steps will certainly help you on this path, but it’s important to remember that everybody’s healthy weight will vary.

Treat sleep apnoea – improving your sleeping patterns can not only reduce the impact on your risk, but it can also help you find energy and motivation to choose healthier options when it comes to food and exercise.

Regular health checks – because there are some risk factors that are beyond your control, it’s important to be proactive with your health, whether it be with regular visits to your GP or a visit to an allied health professional such as a dietitian, exercise physiologist or diabetes educator.

Melanie Flynn
Diabates Educator
360 Health + Community

Diabetes Australia
Baker IDI
International Diabetes Federation
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