Life Begins At...

The Retiree Magazine Summer 2011-12

Life Begins At.....

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Page 110 of 171

TYPE 2 DIABETES What is it? We've all heard about the diabetes epidemic – but what is it all about? Diabetes is a metabolic condition where we have too much glucose (or sugar) in our blood. There are two types: type 1 diabetes is where the pancreas does not produce enough or any insulin, while type 2 diabetes is starts with something called 'insulin resistance' where the body's cells no longer respond to insulin correctly leading to an increase in blood glucose levels (usually diagnosed in adults, but increasingly in young people and even children). Once someone reaches the stage of type 2 diabetes, their insulin and glucose are no longer working correctly in the body and their glucose levels tend to stay high. This can cause many complications as glucose in high concentrations start to attack and break down the body putting you at risk of the following: • heart attack, heart disease and stroke • amputation of limbs, particularly lower limbs • blindness • kidney disease • high blood pressure • loss of nerve sensation and feeling in feet and hands • obesity • impotence • depression • decreased life expectancy of up to 15 years How many people are affected? In 2006, about 1.4 million Australians had diabetes. Diabetes was rated the fifth leading cause of death worldwide. Moreover, the number of people with diabetes has tripled in the last 10 years. If this trend continues, 3.3 millions Australians will have diabetes by 2031, and the number will keep rising dramatically. Another worrying trend is that more young people – even children – are being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. In fact, the rate of diabetes in Australian children is rising by five to 10 per cent each year. This is linked to the increasing numbers of obese children and a reduction in physical activity. It's a tragedy that any child should be headed towards a life of ill health, disease and early death when it could be prevented. THE RETIREE SUMMER 105

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