Heads up on Diabetes by Dr Victoria Beyer

July 12, 2022

National Diabetes Week runs from 10th-16th July 2022. This year’s event aims to address the stigma associated with diabetes.

Over 1 million Australians have type 2 diabetes, and up to 1 in 5 people with the disease are yet to be diagnosed. Diabetes is extremely common, but often misunderstood. Those diagnosed with type 2 diabetes may experience shame or stigma, due to the belief that it is simply a lifestyle disease. Lifestyle, diet and physical activity certainly play an important role in determining a person’s risk of developing type 2 diabetes, however there are usually other factors at play, including:

  • Family history
  • Increasing age
  • Being overweight +/- having high blood pressure
  • Aboriginal,Torres Strait Islander, Pacific Islander, Indian subcontinent or Chinese cultural background
  • History of gestational diabetes, or polycystic ovarian syndrome
  • Antipsychotic medications

We can’t change our genetics, ethnicity or our age, but there are some factors we have control over to prevent or delay the onset of diabetes. Maintaining a healthy weight, keeping physically active with moderate intensity exercise for 150 minutes per week, eating a healthy diet, monitoring and managing high blood pressure and high cholesterol and not smoking can all make a positive impact.

People aged 45 to 49 years who are at risk of developing a chronic disease such as type 2 diabetes and all people over 75 years can have comprehensive health assessments with their GP and practice nurse. These assessments are funded by Medicare and incur no out-of-pocket expenses. We can help you determine your personal risk of diabetes and put together a plan to reduce that risk.

As the symptoms of type 2 diabetes can be non-specific or non-existent, getting a diagnosis can come as a shock. Thankfully, we have access to a wide range of management options, including dietary and exercise modifications as well as medications. Early detection and effective management of type 2 diabetes can prevent some of the potentially devastating consequences such as heart attack, stroke, blindness and kidney failure.

For more information, speak with your GP or visit Diabetes Australia: