6 sweet facts – Thanks to Diabetes Australia

  • 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 (1.2 million known and registered) as well as silent, undiagnosed type 2 diabetes (up to 500,000 estimated)
  • More than 100,000 Australians have developed diabetes in the past year
  • 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
  • Type 2 Diabetes accounts for 85% of all diabetes

The proof is in the pudding (literally), Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus (T2DM) is an epidemic! As an Exercise Physiologist, Type 2 Diabetes is one of the most commonly treated conditions in my clinic. However, it continually startles me how little people know about their condition, how targeted exercise can play a role in preventing and managing T2DM and what resources are available to help people with T2DM take control of their health. So allow me to scratch the surface on some of this.

What is T2DM?

T2DM is characterized by our body being resistant to insulin or not producing enough insulin. Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas which assists in managing our blood glucose levels. As a result, our blood glucose levels increase and this leads to hyperglycaemia (high blood glucose). Our body reacts to this by producing more insulin to compensate, thus leading to our pancreas’ insulin secreting cells to be destroyed from having to constantly work over time! This process leads to the development and progression of T2DM.

What do you feel?

As mentioned, it’s estimated up to 500,000 Australian’s have undiagnosed T2DM, resulting in its name the ‘silent killer’, but why is this so? This is due to Many of the symptoms often put down to symptoms of aging. I put together a list below of some of the symptoms you may have with T2DM:

  • Being excessively thirsty
  • Passing more urine
  • Feeling tired and lethargic
  • Always feeling hungry
  • Having cuts that heal slowly
  • Itching, skin infections
  • Blurred vision
  • Gradually putting on weight
  • Mood swings
  • Headaches
  • Feeling dizzy
  • Leg cramps

Why should I exercise?

As an EP, I could write a novel on the positive effect of exercise for those with insulin resistance or with T2DM. However, the most noticeable benefit is the fact that targeted exercise can decrease your blood glucose level[MV2] . How? When you use your muscles, they need energy, your muscles main source of energy is glucose. As a result, after exercise, particularly resistance exercise, your blood glucose level goes down! Not only can exercise help manage T2DM, it can also help prevent the onset of T2DM. Increasing physical activity can reduce the incident of T2DM by almost 60% for those as risk!

What sort of exercise should I be doing?

Aerobic – Get that breathing rate up! Aim to complete at least 210 minutes of moderate to vigorous intensity aerobic exercise each week. This exercise should be at an intensity where you struggle to speak in full sentences. Oh, and try not to go more than 2 consecutive days without exercising!

Resistance Training – You got a house, you got a gym! No, you don’t have to go to the gym to complete resistance training. Resistance training includes movements you do everyday. Think sit-stands/squats, modified push-ups and pulling movements! Complete resistance training 2 or more times per week, 3 sets of 8-12 repetitions of a few different exercises.

How can we help?

 Exercise Physiologists specialize in developing targeted, individualised exercise therapy for chronic conditions. Not only can EP’s provided targeted treatment to help manage T2DM, we will ensure exercise prescription takes into consideration other conditions our clients may have. EP’s also work alongside their client and help implement positive behaviour change interventions and lifestyle modifications!

Want to see an EP?

Those with T2DM are eligible to be bulk-billed to help manage their conditions! A Chronic Disease Management referral may be able to be provided by your GP – this entitles you to 5 one-on-one sessions to an Allied Health Practitioner. People with T2DM are also eligible for a Group Allied Health Services referral which consists of 1 one-on-one and 8 group-based sessions. This referral can be split between or utilsed in its entirety by an Exercise Physiologist, Diabetes Educator or Dietitian. Exercise Healthcare Australia bulk-bills all people who are referred via these referrals!

Don’t let this condition dictate your life, take control and #exerciseyourhealth. Book in for a free assessment with one of our Accredited Exercise Physiologists today!