Over 1.7 million Australians have diabetes and 280 new cases develop every day. 85-90 per cent of the epidemic is type 2 diabetes, and over 2 million Australians have pre-diabetes, a condition in which blood glucose levels are higher than normal, putting them at an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
The good news is that we can prevent or delay this progression from pre-diabetes to type 2 diabetes through sustained lifestyle change programs.
“We have strong evidence that over half of cases of type 2 diabetes developing from pre-diabetes can be prevented through sustained lifestyle changes which combine healthy eating, increasing physical activity, and obtaining and maintaining a healthier weight,” says Professor Greg Johnson, Diabetes Australia CEO.
“We have seen the state-wide implementation of a program in Victoria funded by the Victorian Government, the Life! program, which has now seen over 30,000 people access structured lifestyle change programs to prevent type 2 diabetes, and we need a National Diabetes Prevention Program to take this powerful and proven prevention to a national scale.”
For those who do develop type 2 diabetes, most will need oral medications and/or insulin injections in addition to lifestyle changes to help manage their type 2 diabetes. Self-monitoring and management is particularly important. Unfortunately, if type 2 diabetes is not well-managed then it can lead to serious health complications including heart attacks, strokes, kidney damage, blindness, limb amputations, serious anxiety and depression and more.