Diabetes is a leading cause of heart disease, stroke, blindness, kidney failure and lower limb amputation, but 1 in 2 people remain undiagnosed. Would you know how to identify the signs or symptoms in a loved one?
Type 1 vs Type 2 — what’s the difference?
First, let’s talk about insulin. Insulin is a hormone produced in the pancreases. When we eat, insulin is released into the blood stream where it helps move glucose from food into the cells to be used as energy.
In Type 1 Diabetes, the pancreas produces little or no insulin and treatment of insulin injections is required. By comparison, in Type 2 Diabetes the body is still producing insulin, but it doesn’t function as well as it should. To compensate, the body produces more insulin but struggles to keep the balance right. Therefore, if it’s not correctly managed, the disease can progress.
While the exact cause of Type 1 Diabetes is still unknown, a strong family link is evident. Type 2 Diabetes also has some genetic links but is strongly associated with lifestyle factors.
Identifying symptoms of Type 2 Diabetes
Some of the common symptoms include frequent urination, being thirstier and hungrier than usual, constantly feeling tired or lethargic, headaches, cuts that heal slower than usual and gradually putting on weight. Many people however don’t experience symptoms or put them down to aging so regular check-ups with your health care professional can help with early diagnosis.
Managing the risk factors
The prevalence of Type 2 Diabetes is increasing at a fast rate with an estimated 2 million Australians at high risk or already showing symptoms. While we can’t change our family history or age, factors we can influence include:
- Maintaining a healthy body weight, especially a healthy waist circumference,
- Exercising regularly,
- Eating a healthy diet,
- Not smoking, and
- Managing high blood pressure and cholesterol levels
Supporting a family member with Diabetes
While there is no cure, the good news is that Type 2 Diabetes can be managed with medication and lifestyle changes. However, if left untreated the condition will worsen resulting in complications. Family support is key to fostering a healthy home environment and keeping up with daily treatment and monitoring. After all, maintaining a healthy lifestyle will benefit everyone, not just those managing diabetes.
Visit diabetesaustralia.com.au to find out more about preventing and managing diabetes.
Benefits available with your Phoenix Health membership
Phoenix Health is always looking for innovative ways to support members and have partnered with Your Health Navigator to offer a Diabetes Management Program to members living with this condition.
How could this program benefit me?
Throughout the six-month program participants will be empowered to better self-manage their diabetes with the support of experienced diabetes educators and a team of registered nurses. The holistic program is tailored to your individual needs and delivered to you in the comfort of your own home and designed to complement services and support you may already be receiving. Participants will learn more about:
- Understanding your diabetes
- Maintaining good nutrition
- Keeping you active
- Managing your medications
- Taking care of your emotional wellbeing
- Managing your diabetes long term
How much does it cost?
It’s absolutely free! The program is included with your Phoenix Health Hospital Cover, so there’s no extra cost for you. Contact the Phoenix Health Team on 1800 028 817 or email [email protected] for more information and eligibility criteria.