Type 2 diabetes is a progressive condition where the body becomes resistant or can lose the capacity to produce insulin in the pancreas. We need insulin to regulate our metabolisms of carbohydrates, fats and proteins through the absorption of glucose from the blood into the liver and muscle cells. According to Diabetes Australia, Type 2 diabetes represents 85-90 per cent of all diabetes cases in Australia, and usually develops in adults over 45 years old, but is becoming increasingly more common in younger people, particularly from ethnic backgrounds.

Causes of Type 2 diabetes

The majority of the time, diabetes develops as a hereditary condition. If you have a family member with diabetes, the chances of you developing diabetes are increased significantly. However, lifestyle risk factors such as poor diet, high blood pressure, lack of physical exercise, and obesity also contribute to the increased risk of diabetes.

Symptoms of Type 2 diabetes

Symptoms are often overlooked or wrongly associated with symptoms of natural aging, which can lead to increased long term complications by the time a correct diagnosis is formalised. Some common symptoms to be aware of are:

  • Feeling tired or lacking energy for no apparent reason
  • Being excessively thirsty
  • Urinating more often than usual
  • Being excessively hungry
  • Blurred vision
  • Headaches
  • Gaining weight gradually
  • Dizziness
  • Muscle cramps
  • Itchy skin
  • Cuts or lacerations that heal slowly

If you possess any or multiple symptoms listed above, contact your healthcare provider or other health professionals to discuss your concerns immediately.

Managing Type 2 diabetes

The good news is, if correctly managed, most people with Type 2 diabetes can live a normal life, with a similar life expectancy to someone without the condition. As much of the condition is lifestyle related, the successful management also comes down maintaining healthy lifestyle habits too. Here are some ways to manage Type 2 diabetes:

  • Healthy diet
  • Remain physically active through regular exercise
  • Monitoring blood glucose levels
  • Tablets (if applicable)
  • Insulin
  • Regular check ups and blood tests

You're not alone

Like any medical condition, diabetes can be overwhelming and isolating. It’s important to know you’re not alone in your diabetes journey, there are many support groups, services and resources available to help you understand the condition and learn to live with it. An extensive list is available via the Diabetes Australia website, and some of our recommendations are listed here:

Australian Diabetes Educators Association

Australian Diabetes Society

To find a local support group in Tasmania, visit Diabetes Tasmania.

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