The fastest growing chronic disease in Australia is completely preventable, and last week health professionals were raising awareness of its risk factors during National Diabetes Week which runs 14 – 20 July.
Type 2 diabetes is preventable through lifestyle changes, as the primary contributing factors are increased body mass, physical inactivity, and a diet lacking fruit and vegetables.
Queensland Country Health Fund Care Navigation Registered Nurse Kindee Lawty says 280 Australians are diagnosed with diabetes every day, which equates to one person every five minutes.
“It’s shocking that a chronic disease that is completely preventable through self-management is presenting with increasing regularity,” said Ms Lawty.
The total annual cost impact of diabetes in Australia estimated at $14.6 billion. Ms Lawty assists Queensland Country Health Fund Members who have been diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes to manage their condition and prevent further complications.
“When someone is newly diagnosed, they often have a lot of questions and fears,” she says.
“If diagnosed early enough and with lifestyle changes, they can potentially reverse the condition. If left uncontrolled or untreated it increases the prevalence of other chronic diseases such as renal failure, blood pressure, cardiac disease and infections.
“In extreme cases, it can result in blindness or amputations.”
Early warning signs of Type 2 diabetes can include fatigue, inability to lose weight and periods of thirst and or cravings. Ms Lawty advises people to be aware of the risks and consider lifestyle changes to prevent the onset of chronic diseases.
“Many people hit their mid-thirties and find they’ve let life get ahead of them a little bit. They don’t do consistent exercise, sit for long hours in their job, and eat processed food for convenience. Those will be the people I expect to see diagnosed with chronic disease such as Type 2 diabetes in ten years’ time.”