Am I at risk?
We know that one person in four will get diabetes and that it is often linked to the way we live today.
The lifestyle factors that can increase your risk of getting type 2 diabetes are:
- If you are not very active
- If someone in your family (mother, father, brother, sister) has type 2 diabetes
- If you are overweight/obese or are carrying extra weight around your waist
- If you have pre-diabetes (this is when your blood glucose levels are higher than normal but not high enough to be diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.)
- If you have high blood pressure, abnormal blood fats (cholesterol) or heart disease
- If you smoke
- If you are Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander
- If you are of Pacific Islander, Southern European, Middle Eastern, Northern African or Southern Asian background.
- If you have had diabetes during pregnancy (gestational diabetes)
Many people don’t know they are at risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Assess your risk using the Australian Type 2 Diabetes Risk Assessment tool or call 13 RISK (13 7475). If you are at high risk of developing type 2 diabetes you may be eligible for the Life! program. Run by expert health professionals, this lifestyle modification program is free to most and delivered as a Group Course or a Telephone Health Coaching service and helps you reduce your risk of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
You can do a lot to reduce your chances of getting type 2 diabetes
Exercising regularly, reducing fat and calorie intake and losing a little weight can help you reduce your risk. Your lifestyle choices can prevent the onset of type 2 diabetes. Evidence from large research projects in the United states, Finland, Europe and Australia have shown that adopting a healthy lifestyle is effective for preventing type 2 diabetes.
It is important for everyone to be active every day and eat well, not just those aiming to prevent diabetes. Yet while most of us know the benefits of living a healthy, active lifestyle, many of us see it as a lot of hard work and having to give up lots of good things, when it’s really not like that at all. Involving the entire family in making decisions such as taking steps to set lifestyle goals and working towards making lifestyle changes is an important first step to preventing type 2 diabetes. It is true that making changes to your lifestyle may mean sacrificing some old habits but with some careful planning and support from programs’ such as our Life! programyou can make these changes to be a part of your every day and reduce your risk of developing type 2 diabetes and other chronic diseases such as heart disease.
Life! program participants share their experiences
“In 8 months I have lost 12kg and more importantly lowered my blood sugars from 6.2mmol/L to 5.1mmol/L and my success is entirely due to the Life! course and the facilitator. I recommend the course because it started me then supported me in what has been a moderate lifestyle change – but a life changing experience” states one recent Life! program graduate.
“Better lifestyle. It’s the reason you do the course: to live longer with a better quality of life” declares another Life! program graduate.
The first step is to assess your risk. If you score 12 or more on the Australian Type 2 Diabetes Risk Assessment tool or have a history of heart disease or gestational diabetes, you are at high risk of developing type 2 diabetes and may be eligible to participate in the Life! program.
Preventing type 2 diabetes is important. Prevention is about being healthier. It does not need to be a burden or involve taking drastic measures. We provide a range of programs and services for people at high risk of diabetes. Our programs include:
This article was originally published by Diabetes Victoria at www.diabetesvic.org.au