Many people are living with silent, undiagnosed type 2 diabetes: are you at risk?
Diabetes is a serious and complex condition that can affect your whole body, but for many people, the signs and symptoms go undetected.
According to Diabetes Australia, almost two million Australians have diabetes, but about a quarter of them don’t know it yet. They’re living with ‘silent’ undiagnosed type 2 diabetes which develops over a number of years.
There’s also a condition called pre-diabetes, which – if diagnosed and managed with some key diet and lifestyle changes – can be prevented from developing into type 2 diabetes.
In this article, we explain what you need to know about type 2 diabetes and pre-diabetes and the key reasons you should check your risk.Almost two million Australians have #diabetes, but a quarter of them don’t know it yet. Do you know the signs? #healthcare #wellness Click To Tweet
Know the signs of pre-diabetes and type 2 diabetes
Pre-diabetes happens when blood glucose levels are higher than normal, but not high enough to diagnose as diabetes.
Sydney University diabetes researcher Dr Nick Fuller says one in six Australians over the age of 25 have pre-diabetes, but alarmingly thousands remain unaware that they may be at-risk of pre-diabetes and type 2 diabetes.
Although many people will have no symptoms at all, others might notice signs like:
- Being really thirsty
- Passing more urine than usual
- Feeling tired and lethargic
- Always feeling hungry
- Cuts that heal slowly
- Itching, skin infections
- Blurred vision
- Putting on weight
- Mood swings
- Feeling dizzy
- Leg cramps
What happens if you have type 2 diabetes?
If you’re diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, in most cases your condition can be managed with healthy eating and regular physical activity. It’s important that your condition is managed by a healthcare professional. Over time, you might need to take medication to prevent long-term complications.
However, Diabetes Australia CEO Professor Greg Johnson says many people have type 2 diabetes for up to seven years before being diagnosed. During that time, up to half of those people will begin to develop a diabetes-related complication.
“The tragedy is that much of the damage to the body that causes diabetes-related complications is preventable,” Professor Johnson says.
That’s why it’s so important to get yourself checked early.
Dr Fuller says global programs had demonstrated that many cases of type 2 diabetes can be prevented through simple lifestyle measures.
Many cases of type 2 diabetes can be prevented through simple lifestyle measures. #health #diet #checkyourrisk Click To Tweet
“We know we can prevent or delay up to 60 percent of people developing diabetes through a simple lifestyle weight loss management program”
– Dr Nick Fuller
How do you check your diabetes and pre-diabetes risk?
Symptoms of type 2 diabetes and pre-diabetes are not always obvious – in fact, some people will have no symptoms at all. So, if you have two or more of the following risk factors, it’s important to see your doctor about getting tested:
- you have a family history of type 2 diabetes and/or heart disease
- you are overweight or obese (waist greater than 80cm for women and greater than 94cm for men)
- you are physically inactive
- you have high cholesterol
- you have high blood pressure
- you smoke
AUSDRISK is a free, online risk assessment you can take to determine your risk of type 2 diabetes. It asks 10 short questions to check some of the biggest risk factors, which include your age, ethnicity, family history and lifestyle.
Check your risk with an at-home test
It’s important to remember that you don’t need to be overweight or physically inactive to be at risk. MyHealthTest customer Cathy was fit and well – with an exercise regime that would challenge someone half her age – when she discovered she had pre-diabetes.
She took an at-home HbA1c blood test, which checks your average blood sugar levels over the previous 8-10 weeks, and took her results straight to her GP.
“I’m doing everything I can to prevent the condition from worsening,” Cathy says.Check your risk of #diabetes with an HbA1c blood test. This test measures your average #bloodsugar levels over the past three months #health Click To Tweet
The MyHealthTest fingerprick test was developed by researchers from the Australian National University (ANU). A study published in BMC Clinical Pathology found comparable results between the HbA1c diabetes test and traditional whole blood testing.
Our service allows you to order online and take the test in the comfort of your own home. And, taking a blood sample via a fingerprick can seem much less intimidating than having a needle in your vein.
You’ll also get your results delivered directly to you via our secure website and you can share them with your GP or other healthcare professional as you choose.
If you’re concerned you might be developing diabetes, you can find out more about our fingerprick Diabetes Test Service or speak to your doctor.
You can also visit Diabetes Australia for more information about diabetes and pre-diabetes.
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- What is an HbA1c blood test and why is it important?
- Looking for a diabetes diet meal plan?
- How accurate is a fingerprick blood test?