Taking steps to prevent diabetes

A group of older people on exercise bikes at a Uniting Seniors Gym

Taking steps to prevent diabetes

Diabetes is one of the most common and fastest growing chronic conditions in Australia. When you have diabetes, your body can’t maintain the right levels of glucose (a type of sugar) in your blood, because there isn’t enough of a hormone called insulin to convert the sugar into energy. The glucose builds up in your blood, and this can lead to lots of serious health complications if left untreated.

‘Type 2 diabetes’ is the most common type of diabetes* and is usually found in adults; this is where your body develops a ‘resistance’ to insulin over time, your body is still producing insulin but not at a high enough level. There are lots of reasons for this, but the main ones are lifestyle related and include:

  • Being overweight or obese
  • Lack of exercise
  • Smoking
  • Excessive alcohol consumption.

How can we stop ourselves from developing diabetes? 9-15 July 2017 is National Diabetes Week, and Lauretta Stace, Healthy Ageing General Manager at Uniting, shares a few helpful strategies:

“Adopting a healthy and active lifestyle will help protect you from developing type 2 diabetes or delay its onset. This includes regular physical activity, healthy eating, not smoking and minimising the consumption of alcohol. All of these things have the added benefit of helping you reach and maintain a healthy weight, reduce blood pressure, improve fitness and heart health and improve your mood, sleep patterns and mental health. If you have diabetes, your GP can assist with developing a diabetes action plan.

“There are lots of fad diets and tips on weight loss in the marketplace but not all of them are trustworthy, based on evidence, or provided by suitably qualified people. For advice on healthy eating, look to reputable sources such as accredited practising dieticians, government websites and peak health and medical associations, all of which can provide appropriate information. Sometimes, people are not aware that they have type 2 diabetes, so if you have some concerns, you may want to contact your doctor to discuss them further.”

Get in touch

To find out more about Uniting or talk to us about the healthy ageing, lifestyle or care option that’s right for you, call us on 1800 864 846 or email ask@uniting.org.

* The other type of diabetes, type 1 diabetes, is caused by an inability to produce any insulin and is usually found in children.

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