Type 2 Diabetes represents a staggering 85–90 per cent of all cases of diabetes* and although it typically develops in adults over the age of 45, it is increasingly occurring in younger age groups including children, adolescents and young adults.
Typical symptoms of type 2 diabetes include increased thirst, more frequent urination, fatigue, increased hunger, blurred vision, unexplained weight loss, frequent infections, itching and yeast infections, and slow-healing sores.
If you have symptoms such as these and your GP suspects you may be diabetic or pre-diabetic, they may advise you to have a fasting blood test, in which blood samples are taken after you have not eaten for 8-12 hours. This test can show the likelihood of being pre-diabetic. If the result does show this, a further oral glucose tolerance test is usually required, where you will also need to fast for 8-12 hours, have a blood test, then you will be given a sweet drink, and more blood samples will be taken over the next two to three hours.
If the diagnosis shows you are diabetic, your doctor may prescribe certain medications, and will most likely recommend changes to your diet and increases to the amount of physical activity you do.
The good news is it is very unlikely you will be prescribed insulin injections, which Type 1 Diabetes patients need to receive every day. Advances in medicine and science have produced some superior medications for treating type 2 diabetes, both oral and also some injectable medications, but some of the injectable meds only need to be administered once per week. Also, if your condition is weight-related, some of these medications may help you to lose weight.
Three months after the initial diagnosis and commencement of treatment your GP will send you for another fasting blood test – without the glucose element – to see how your condition has reacted to treatment.
The good news is that it is possible for many people to significantly slow the progression of Type 2 diabetes through dietary changes and increased exercise.
It’s World Diabetes Day on Sunday 14 November, 2021, with this year’s focus being on access to diabetes care. To live well with diabetes, people require ongoing care and support, such as access to education and psychological support. This year’s campaign aims to raise awareness of improving access to diabetes care and highlighting the need for more action to prevent diabetes and its complications.
*Diabetes Australia. All statistics in this article are from Diabetes Australia; you can also find out more on their website.
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