Moving Forward With Diabetes
J.P. Morgan once said "The first step towards getting somewhere is to decide that you are not going to stay where you are."
Over 225,000 New Zealanders live with diabetes but Otago University estimates that as many as 1 in 4 kiwis are also pre-diabetic. Diabetes is a long term condition that affects the way your body regulates sugar, or glucose. Type 2 diabetes is where the body does not respond to insulin as well as it should and sometimes doesn't make enough. The good news is that it can be controlled and you can lead a full and active life... taking the first steps really count!
Type 2 diabetes tends to occur in people over 40 years old. Most people don't even know they are at risk of developing diabetes, but there are things which may increase your chances, such as being overweight, smoking or having a family history of diabetes. Because you often don't actually feel symptoms from diabetes even while it is doing damage, if you have these risk factors it is best to get tested by your doctor. If left untreated, type 2 diabetes can cause long-term damage to your blood vessels, eyesight, kidneys, heart and feet.
In New Zealand we use the HbA1c test to determine whether or not you have diabetes. HbA1c is a marker that can determine your average blood sugar (glucose) levels over the previous 3-months. It can be used to diagnose diabetes or to assess how well your diabetes is being managed.
In most people, below 40mml/ml is considered non-diabetic, whereas a measurement of 50mmol/mol or above is in the range for diabetes. Between these two values is considered pre-diabetic.
Understanding your test results can help you manage your diabetes better. For any help understanding your blood test results or regarding using your blood glucose monitor, come and see on of our helpful pharmacists at Unichem Manly Pharmacy.
So, what could be a first step? If you are living with type 2 diabetes, simple lifestyle choices can be key to controlling your blood glucose levels. For example, research shows that losing weight can help you to reduce , delay or for some, even do away with your diabetes medications. However dieting with diabetes can be complex and so needs to be done safely with a qualified health professional.
If you have been recently diagnosed as having pre-diabetes, you'll be pleased to know that a recent study found that dropping your body weight by 10 percent within six months of your diagnosis dramatically reduces your risk of progressing to type 2 diabetes. Even moderate weight loss shows positive effects. Losing 5 to 7 percent of your body weight still reduces your risk of developing diabetes by 54 percent*. If you are 80kg, this means losing 4 to 6kg.
So if you have been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes or pre-diabetes it is time to start your first step by deciding to make a change. If you need a little help, come and see our friendly pharmacy team at Unichem Manly Pharmacy.
*in overweight or obese patients only