Diabetes Week – It’s About Time by Tania Logan, Dietitian and Diabetes Educator

Ilze GroblerDietetics & Diabetes Education

Too many people are diagnosed with diabetes too late.  It is estimated that up to half a million people in Australia may have undiagnosed diabetes, putting their health at risk.  Early diagnosis can greatly reduce this risk.

This week is Diabetes Week and Diabetes Australia is asking us to take the time to learn about the early signs and symptoms of diabetes and consider getting checked.

What is Diabetes?

Diabetes occurs when a hormone called insulin does not work properly.  Insulin usually helps glucose (a type of sugar) move from the blood into the cells of the body.  Once in the cells, glucose is used for energy.  Insulin is like a key to a locked door.  Glucose cannot move out of the blood and into the cells without insulin.

Type 1 Diabetes

Type 1 diabetes occurs when the body no longer produces insulin.  Without insulin, the body can’t use energy from the food we eat and glucose levels rise in the blood.  There are 4 early warning signs for type 1 diabetes that can help identify diabetes and ensure someone is diagnosed and treated quickly.  

The 4T’s have been developed by Diabetes UK and these are:

  • Going to the toilet a lot 

People with high blood glucose levels wee a lot because their kidneys are trying to flush out all the extra glucose.

  • Feeling thirsty all the time

When we wee a lot, our body tries to replace the fluid we lose by making us thirsty and encouraging us to drink more.

  • Feeling tired and lethargic

People with diabetes feel tired because without insulin, the body can’t use the energy from the food they eat.

  • Getting thinner

When we can’t use the energy from the food we eat, our body starts to break down fat stores to provide energy and we lose weight.  This is not healthy.

These symptoms can occur quickly, over a few days or weeks.  If you see these signs, in yourself or someone else, see your doctor immediately. Type 1 diabetes can be fatal if it is not diagnosed in time.  For more information, you can access the Diabetes Australia Factsheet on type 1 diabetes (link to https://www.itsabouttime.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/Type-1-diabetes-fact-sheet.pdf) or see your GP.

Type 2 Diabetes

In type 2 diabetes, the body still produces insulin, but it doesn’twork properly.  When this happens, glucose gets stuck in the blood and blood glucose levels rise.  Many Australians will live with diabetes for up to 7 years before they are diagnosed, increasing their risk of the complications associated with diabetes including heart attack, kidney damage, amputations and blindness.

You can be diagnosed with type 2 diabetes at any age, but your risk increases after the age of 40, especially if you are overweight or have a family history of type 2 diabetes.  If you are over the age of 40 or have an increased risk of type 2 diabetes, you should be screened for type 2 diabetes every 3 years.   Diabetes Australia’s risk calculator (link to https://www.diabetesaustralia.com.au/risk-calculator) is an excellent way to check your risk for developing type 2 diabetes.  You can calculate your risk then make an appointment to see your local GP to discuss it further.  For more information you can access the Diabetes Australia Factsheet on type 2 diabetes (link to https://www.itsabouttime.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/Type-2-diabetes-fact-sheet.pdf) or see your GP.

If you are diagnosed with diabetes, or are at risk of developing diabetes, I am also able to help answer questions you may have.  I have over 20 years experience working with people with diabetes and can help with many areas of management.  These can include:

  • Healthy eating guidelines for diabetes and pre diabetes
  • Carbohydrate and glycaemic index
  • Achieving and maintaining a healthy weight
  • Understanding diabetes medications
  • Treatment and prevention of hypoglycaemia (low blood glucose levels)
  • Long term complications of diabetes
  • High cholesterol and diet
  • High blood pressure and diet
  • Reading labels
  • Eating out and take away choices
  • Recipes, meal ideas, and cook books
  • Sugar and alternative sweeteners
  • Snack choices
  • Alcohol and diabetes
  • Blood glucose levels and how they relate to food intake
  • Effects of physical activity
  • Birthdays, special occasions, and holidays

You can find my contact details and how to book an appointment on our website at www.zestinfusion.com.au

Share this Post