What is Diabetes?

Diabetes is increasing in prevalence and is the fastest growing chronic condition in Australia and the rest of the world.

Diabetes is a complex metabolic condition of which there are three main types: Type 1 Diabetes, Type 2 Diabetes and Gestational Diabetes.  The common factor between the different types of diabetes is that the body is unable to maintain appropriate levels of glucose in the blood.  Normally, our bodies break down the foods that we eat into glucose which is then converted into energy.  A hormone called insulin is required for this process to take place.  In diabetics, their bodies either do not produce enough insulin, don’t use the insulin produced effectively, or a combination of both.  This means that when glucose is consumed, it is not converted into energy and remains in the bloodstream, resulting in high blood glucose levels. Otherwise known as hyperglycaemia, high blood glucose levels can be a serious problem if left untreated.

What is Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus (T2DM)?

T2DM is the most common form of diabetes, accounting for 85-90% of all cases. T2DM usually affects older adults but more and more young people, even children, are developing the condition.

T2DM is a progressive condition, it develops over a long period of time. During this time, the body becomes resistant to the normal effects of insulin, meaning that insulin becomes less and less effective at controlling the blood glucose levels. Then the body can also gradually lose the ability to produce enough insulin. Management of T2DM involves healthy eating and regular physical activity but people with T2DM may also require medication or insulin.

T2DM differs from Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus (T1DM) in that T1DM occurs when the pancreas does not produce insulin. T1DM usually develops in younger people and accounts for around 10% of diabetes cases. T1DM cannot be prevented and there is no cure. T1DM is managed with insulin injections or the use of an insulin pump.

What causes T2DM and who is at risk?

There is no single cause of T2DM. There are modifiable lifestyle risk factors and then there are other risk factors of which you have no control, such as a family history of diabetes which predisposes you to the condition.

You have an increased risk of developing diabetes if you:

  • have a family history of diabetes
  • are >55 years of age (risk increases with age)
  • are overweight or obese
  • are physically inactivity
  • have a poor diet
  • have high blood pressure
  • are a woman who had gestational diabetes whilst pregnant or gave birth to a baby over 4.5 kg (9 lbs)
  • are from particular ethnic backgrounds.

Many people with T2DM may not experience any symptoms but common symptoms can include:

  • excessive thirst
  • frequent urination
  • feeling tired and lethargic
  • feeling hungry regularly
  • blurred vision
  • weight gain
  • slow healing of cuts.

How can T2DM be prevented?

Many of the risk factors for T2DM are modifiable lifestyle risk factors.  Maintaining a healthy lifestyle can greatly reduce your risk of developing T2DM.  Make positive lifestyle changes by:

  • maintaining a healthy weight
  • reducing your waist circumference
  • undertaking regular exercise / physical activity
  • making healthy nutrition choices
  • managing blood pressure
  • managing cholesterol levels
  • not smoking.

How can Focus Osteopathy help?

The Exercise Physiologists and Nutritionist at Focus Osteopathy can assist you in making the positive lifestyle changes essential for the prevention and management of Type 2 Diabetes.

Our Exercise Physiologists, will carry out an assessment and work with you to tailor an individualised exercise program that is appropriate, safe and enjoyable!

Our Nutritionist looks at your situation and provides advice, support and a plan that will help you most. You can expect simple and realistic tips you can easily follow to get the results you want.