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What are the risk factors for type 2 diabetes? Can I change any?

risk factors for developing type 2 diabetes can be referred to as modifiable or non-modifiable risk factors


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What is Type 2 Diabetes?

Type 2 diabetes is an elevation in blood sugars that occurs when a sugar called glucose can’t get into your muscles where it is needed. Elevated blood glucose damages the lining of blood vessels leading to a range of complications in various organs of the body.

Type 2 diabetes is rapidly becoming of the most common long-term disease in the world. The problem causing an elevation in the blood glucose levels occurs when there is a change in the shape of the insulin receptor. In the normal situation, the body produces a small chemical called insulin (key) whose purpose is to bind to a receptor (lock) on the surface of fat and muscle cells, opening a channel to allow glucose to enter those cells. In type 2 diabetes the shape of this receptor changes mostly as a consequence of weight gain around the stomach.

Type 2 Diabetes Content

Type 2 Program
Overview
Risk Factors
Symptoms
Diagnosis
Complications
Treatment
Diet
Monitoring
Tools
Mental Health
Prevention


in type 2 diabetes, the pancreas produces less insulin which results in less glucose moving from the blood stream into the cells


How common is type 2 diabetes?

The number of people diagnosed with diabetes is increasing. The 8th edition of the International Diabetes Federation’s (IDF) Diabetes Atlas released in 2017, estimated that:

  • One in 11 people have diabetes (425 million)
  • One in two adults with diabetes are undiagnosed (212 million)
  • 12% of global health expenditure is spent on diabetes (USD$727 billion)
  • Every 6 seconds a person dies from diabetes

IDF also estimated that by 2040:

  • One in 10 adults will have diabetes
  • Diabetes-related health expenditure will exceed USD$802billion



Type 2 diabetes mellitus is a very serious condition

People with diabetes who have ongoing high blood glucose levels, are at an increased risk of having poor health outcomes compared to people who do not have diabetes. Some statistics that relate to people with diabetes include:

  • People with diabetes are up to four time more likely to suffer heart attacks or strokes
  • Diabetes is the leading cause of vision-loss globally and is the fifth most common cause of preventable blindness and fifth more common cause of moderate to severe visual impairment
  • Kidney failure is three times more common in people with diabetes
  • Amputations are 15 times more common in people with diabetes
  • More than 30 percent of people with diabetes experience depression, anxiety, and distress
  • Early diagnosis, optimal treatment, and effective ongoing support and management reduce risk of diabetes-related complications dramatically.


Who is at risk of developing type 2 diabetes?

Risk factors can be divided into non-modifiable risk factors and modifiable risk factors. Non-modifiable risk factors are those that can’t be changed by you, for example your genetics. Modifiable risk factors can be changed, for example making changes to the amount you exercise.

You are more likely to get type 2 diabetes if you are carrying weight around your belly. It is much more common in people from certain ethnic backgrounds like Indian, Middle Eastern, south-east Asian and indigenous populations. In these groups rates of diabetes can approach 30% of the adult population. In Caucasian populations, the rates are more typically 10% of the adult population.



Non-modifiable risk factors in type 2 diabetes?

Diabetes is much more common in people from certain ethnic backgrounds like Indian, Middle Eastern, south-east Asian and indigenous populations. In these groups rates of diabetes can approach 30% of the adult population. In Caucasian populations, the rates are more typically 10% of the adult population.

The non-modifiable risk factors which increase your chance of developing prediabetes include:

  • Have a family history of diabetes
  • Being older (over 55 years of age) – the risk increases as we age
  • Ethnic background, including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders, Pacific Islanders, Asian and South East Asian, African Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Hispanics/ Latinos

Being aware of the non-modifiable risk factors is extremely important. For people who have a family history of type 2 diabetes, you need to be more alert and start taking action early to prevent or delay developing type 2 diabetes.



Modifiable risk factors in type 2 diabetes

The modifiable risk factors which increase your chance of developing prediabetes include:

  • Being overweight or obese, particularly extra weight around the waist
  • Being physically inactive
  • Eating a poor diet (one that is high in fat, salt, and sugar)
  • High blood pressure


Are there other risk factors?

There are some risk factors that cross over between modifiable and non-modifiable risk factors. Some of these include:

  • Having signs associated with diabetes like skin tags and dark colouration around the neck and arm pits called acanthosis nigricans
  • Over 45 years of age and being overweight

Can I prevent type 2 diabetes?

You may have just found out that you are at risk of developing diabetes. This may be more difficult than you anticipated. However, if you don’t have diabetes yet, this is actually really good news. It means that you can make changes now to prevent or delay developing type 2 diabetes. Making some simple changes now, can have a huge impact on your health for the years ahead.

So, yes! You can prevent type 2 diabetes. Phew!



What can I do to prevent type 2 diabetes?

There are changes you can make to improve your health and reduce your risk of developing diabetes. These include:

  • Eating well
  • Moving your body more
  • Being a healthy weight
  • Setting realistic goals
  • Getting support
  • Make changes part of your everyday

Join the 12-week program to learn how to easily incorporate these changes into your everyday routine.

There is also some evidence that suggests quitting smoking can help to reduce your risk of developing diabetes. While there still needs to be more research done in this by scientists, there are plenty of other great reasons to quit smoking. For example, quitting smoking can help to lower your risk of having a stroke or heart attack.

Making these changes can also help to reduce your risk of developing diabetes comorbidities; hypertension and dyslipidemia.












What are the symptoms of type 2 diabetes?

You may have learned that you have some of the risk factors for type 2 diabetes. It is important to look out for any symptoms of diabetes and to see a doctor ASAP if you notice anything wrong.

The most common symptom of diabetes is feeling nothing at all. Yes, nothing. That’s part of the problem. A person with undiagnosed prediabetes feels ok but the damage is already occurring. Many people experience tiredness and fatigue, and that is really noticed when you start to get sugars under control.

In type 2 diabetes, the general symptoms include:

  • Fatigue and irritability
  • Excessive thirst, frequent urination, and dehydration
  • Ongoing hunger
  • Yeast and bacterial infections
  • Dry and itchy skin
  • Cuts and wounds that don’t heal quickly
  • Pain and numbness in your feet or legs
  • Blurred vision
  • Changes in weight

Some symptoms of diabetes can vary between men and women. Symptoms of type 2 diabetes mellitus in men are often related to sexual health and function. The symptoms of type 2 diabetes in women also often relate to sexual health and function.



What should I do next?

If you experience any symptoms of type 2 diabetes or you have type 2 diabetes risk factors, it is important to get tested for as soon as possible. Some people are at higher risk and need regular testing. If you are 45 years or older or have other risk factors for diabetes, you will require more frequent testing. By diagnosing and treating the type 2 diabetes early, it means you can decrease the risk of developing diabetes or delay type 2 diabetes complications, for example nerve damage, blindness, and heart disease. It is important to know that diagnosing type 2 diabetes should not rely solely on using a Hb A1c test.

Once you learn what your type 2 diabetes status is, or if you already have type 2 diabetes, the next most important step is to become educated. You can join the 12-week Type 2 Diabetes Program to help you learn how to prevent or delay type 2 diabetes. The program is personalised and tailored, giving you more of the content that you want. The program also helps you to stay motivated and teaches you what changes you need to make. The first week is free and full of helpful and crucial information.

If you would like to be a part of a supportive program, with easy to understand video content covering all aspects of diabetes, join our personalised 12-week program today! Don't forget, when you sign up, you receive the first week free!



Interested in more information on type 2 diabetes?

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