The Reliance GP Blog

Type 2 Diabetes – Are you or your family at risk?
Missy Tysoe February 12, 2016

 

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Type 2 Diabetes – Are you or your family at risk?

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. We do not know what causes type 2 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes is associated with modifiable lifestyle risk factors. Type 2 diabetes also has strong genetic and family related risk factors.

Type 2 diabetes:

  • Is diagnosed when the pancreas does not produce enough insulin (reduced insulin production) and/or the insulin does not work effectively and/or the cells of the body do not respond to insulin effectively (known as insulin resistance)
  • Represents 85–90 per cent of all cases of diabetes
  • Usually develops in adults over the age of 45 years but is increasingly occurring in younger age groups including children, adolescents and young adults
  • Is more likely in people with a family history of type 2 diabetes or from particular ethnic backgrounds
  • For some the first sign may be a complication of diabetes such as a heart attack, vision problems or a foot ulcer
  • Is managed with a combination of regular physical activityhealthy eating and weight reduction. As type 2 diabetes is often progressive, most people will need oral medications and/or insulin injections in addition to lifestyle changes over time.

What causes type 2 diabetes?

Diabetes runs in the family, if you have a family member with diabetes, you have a genetic disposition to have diabetes. You inherit a predisposition to the condition and then something in your environment triggers it. Please visit your GP if you think you might be at high risk.

Although there is a strong genetic predisposition, the risk is greatly increased when associated with lifestyle factors such as high blood pressure, overweight or obesity, insufficient physical activity, poor diet and the classic ‘apple shape’ body where extra weight is carried around the waist.

While there is no single cause of type 2 diabetes, there are well-established risk factors. Some risk factors can be controlled and others you are born with.

You are at a higher risk of getting type 2 diabetes if you:

  • have a family history of diabetes
  • are older (over 55 years of age ) – the risk increases as we age
  • are over 45 years of age and are overweight
  • are over 45 years of age and have high blood pressure
  • are over 35 years of age and are from an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander background
  • are over 35 years of age and are from Pacific Island, Indian subcontinent or Chinese cultural background
  • are a woman who has given birth to a child over 4.5 kgs (9 lbs), or had gestational diabetes when pregnant, or had a condition known as Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome.

Symptoms

In type 2 diabetes, many people have no symptoms at all. As type 2 diabetes is commonly (but not always) diagnosed at a later age, sometimes signs are dismissed as a part of ‘getting older’. In some cases, by the time type 2 diabetes is diagnosed, the complications of diabetes may already be present.

Symptoms include:

  • Being excessively thirsty
  • Passing more urine
  • Feeling tired and lethargic
  • Always feeling hungry
  • Having cuts that heal slowly
  • Itching, skin infections
  • Blurred vision
  • Gradually putting on or losing weight
  • Mood swings
  • Headaches
  • Feeling dizzy
  • Leg cramps

 

Managing Type 2 Diabetes

  • While there is currently no cure for type 2 diabetes, the condition can be managed through lifestyle modifications and medication. Type 2 diabetes is progressive and needs to be managed effectively to prevent complications.
  • If you have recently been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes or have a family member with type 2 diabetes, view information on managing type 2 diabetes.

Prevention

There are different types of diabetes; the three main types of diabetes are type 1, type 2 and gestational diabetes. At this stage, it is estimated that 58% of type 2 diabetes can be prevented. You can do a lot to reduce your risk of type 2 diabetes, read our tips below.

Type 1

Currently type 1 diabetes cannot be prevented. However, researchers are looking into the autoimmune process and environmental factors that lead to developing type 1 diabetes so that we may be able to prevent type 1 diabetes in the future.

Type 2

Many cases of type 2 diabetes can be prevented, or the onset delayed, through positive lifestyle changes. It is estimated that the risk of developing type 2 diabetes can be reduced by up to 58% by maintaining a healthy weight, being physically active and following a healthy eating plan.

People at risk of type 2 diabetes can delay and even prevent the condition by:

  • Maintaining a healthy weight
  • Regular physical activity
  • Making healthy food choices
  • Managing blood pressure
  • Managing cholesterol levels
  • Not smoking.

Calculate your risk here.

For more information https://www.diabetesaustralia.com.au/

Reference: https://www.diabetesaustralia.com.au/

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