It’s National Diabetes Week this week (July 14-20, 2019) and this year’s theme is, ‘It’s about time you took the time’.
What does that mean?
Diabetes Australia’s 2019 message is all about making time for ourselves to prioritise our health.
In our often frantic lives of rushing around, going to work, looking after kids and loved ones and for many of us who already have diabetes, that includes juggling the day-to-day pressures of diabetes.
So what better time to take stock of our health, reflect on how we’re doing.
I find even though generally my diabetes control is pretty good, there is always room for improvement and making small tweaks can mean a big difference.
This might mean improving my diet, getting more active, or being more mindful of my health rather than prioritising everything else in my busy life.
I’m a busy mum with two kids so this doesn’t mean doing crazy extravagant things. It’s the little improvements every day that add up to big changes.
So, things like taking the stairs instead of the lift, or walking up the escalator instead of standing and waiting for it to get to the top, heading outside with the kids even if I’m tired and would rather sit and watch TV.
Snack prep is also a great tip. If you’re a snack-a-holic and you know you can’t stop at one bite, then preparing your snacks in advance is a great way to get on top of your portion control.
And if you’re going to snack, choose healthier options like backed instead of fried chips and crisps, or low fat and low sugar products.
Start a conversation about diabetes
National Diabetes Week is also a great time to help spread the word about diabetes and to keep an eye out for anyone who may be at risk including friends, family and work colleagues.
Enquire – Do they know about diabetes? If not, share some information. This could include type 1, type 2 or gestational diabetes.
Do they know the benefit of early detection? If not, share some information about visiting their GP to get tested.
There’s no better time to have a conversation about diabetes than right now during National Diabetes Week.
If you know someone who could benefit from a friendly chat about diabetes, or who could benefit from some helpful advice, offer it today.
The reality is diabetes is now a global epidemic and Australia is not immune.
- 280 Australians develop diabetes every day. That’s one person every five minutes
- Around 1.7 million Australians have diabetes. This includes all types of diagnosed diabetes
- For every person diagnosed with diabetes there is usually a family member or carer who also ‘lives with diabetes’ every day in a support role. This means that an estimated 2.4 million Australians are affected by diabetes every day
- Total annual cost impact of diabetes in Australia estimated at $14.6 billion (Source: Diabetes Australia).
All of us have a role to play in raising awareness of diabetes and helping our friends, family and our community to get tested and get treated for diabetes.
Signs and symptoms
Type 1 diabetes is not preventable or curable…. yet, even thought I live in hope that one day it will be. There is amazing research going on every day.
The good news though, is that pre-diabetes and sometimes type 2 diabetes can be reversed with diet and lifestyle modifications.
The signs and symptoms of type 1 and type 2 diabetes can be similar, including:
- Passing urine more frequently
- Excessive thirst and drinking a lot of fluid
- Fatigue (tiredness) or irritable
- Skin infections or itching
- Blurred vision
The signs of Type 1 diabetes appear pretty quickly, whereas for type 2 diabetes this can happen over a much longer period.
Often people can be living with type 2 diabetes for up to 7-10 years without knowing it.
So getting tested early and getting treated early is the best way to ward of the complications of diabetes.
What can I do?
It’s easy to feel like diabetes is such a huge problem and we are powerless to do anything about it.
But one conversation today that inspires someone to get tested is a powerful step in the overall fight against diabetes and could save someone’s life.
It’s not easy to start a conversation about diabetes.
Often people don’t want to know may be at risk of diabetes. Just the thought can be daunting and scary as people may not know anything about diabetes or how to deal with it.
But knowing that friends and family are there to listen and show support can be enough to motivate someone to take the first step and get tested.
If you know someone who may be at risk, have a chat with them and offer some support today.
For more information about National Diabetes Week check out It’s About Time.
Let’s all do our bit for diabetes!