By naturopath Margaret Jasinska
The incidence of type 2 diabetes is rising at a frightening pace, particularly in younger people. Younger people may not see a doctor regularly for a check up and blood test. They might be unaware they have diabetes.
Approximately 280 Australians develop diabetes each day. Currently nearly 2 million Australians have diabetes, but it’s estimated that up to half of the cases of type 2 diabetes remain undiagnosed. By 2031 it is thought that 3.3 million Australians will have type 2 diabetes. Both type 1 and type 2 diabetes are becoming increasingly prevalent, but most diabetics in this country have type 2 diabetes.
The symptoms of type 2 diabetes can be very mild and some people get no symptoms at all until their diabetes is at an advanced stage and irreversible damage has been done to their body. The earlier diabetes is detected and treated, the better chance you have of avoiding the complications of the disease.
Diabetes is a terrible disease; it can greatly reduce the quality of your life, make you more prone to several serious diseases and cut your life short prematurely. High blood sugar over a sustained period of time has many detrimental health consequences, therefore, the longer a person has diabetes, the worse the health consequences. The complications of type 1 and type 2 diabetes are usually the same.
You are probably well aware that diabetics are very prone to cardiovascular disease; in fact, people with diabetes are three to four times more likely to die of heart disease than non-diabetics, even if they have normal blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Diabetes is also a very common cause of kidney disease; this can result in the need for dialysis and an eventual kidney transplant. Diabetes causes disease of the large and small blood vessels, which impairs circulation of blood to organs and limbs; this can result in infections and the death of tissue, requiring an amputation.
The high blood glucose levels in diabetics can damage the nerves, resulting in gradual degeneration of the peripheral nerves, called neuropathy. This causes loss of sensation and weakness of the limbs. It can also cause bladder and bowel dysfunction. The better control you have over your blood glucose level, the less likely you are to experience diabetic complications.
The two skin conditions below are common. You may have them yourself. That doesn’t necessarily mean you’re a diabetic; it means you’re at increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes at some stage. The skin conditions are indicators of insulin resistance (hyperinsulinaemia), which is a forerunner to type 2 diabetes.