Every year in the month of November, people across the world come together to celebrate World Diabetes Day.
Marked in the honour of Sir Frederick Banting who discovered insulin along with Charles Best, this global campaign aims to raise community awareness about its prevalence, and educate people on the risk, signs and symptoms associated with diabetes and how early detection can save someone’s life.
Led by the International Diabetes Federation, World Diabetes Day has a special theme every year. While last year’s theme was “Family and Diabetes”, this year the focus is on nurses, “The Nurse and Diabetes”.
What is World Diabetes Day and why awareness is important?
From its humble beginnings in 2006, World Diabetes Day has become a globally-celebrated event to raise awareness for a disease that is estimated to affect millions across the globe.
With millions affected by diabetes in Australia and throughout the world, knowing more about this silent-killer has become more important than ever before. Diabetes Australia describes it as the epidemic of the 21st century and is one of the biggest challenges that confront the Australian healthcare system.
They also estimate that about 1.7 million Australians are currently living with the condition, with over 500,000 of them not knowing if they have it.
Since diabetes is a chronic health issue and is a major cause for blindness, heart attacks, kidney failure and many other health complications, spreading awareness can be the most effective way to reduce its risk, delay its onset and perhaps prevent diabetes.
Recognise your prediabetes and diabetes
Early diagnosis of both prediabetes and diabetes is the key to managing the disease as early as possible and potentially delaying or preventing further health complications.
Type 1 diabetes is usually detected sooner when compared to Type 2, as the symptoms are substantial and easier to recognise.
In contrast, Type 2 diabetes has a very gradual growth and sometimes takes many years to notice. This makes Type 2 diabetes complicated as you might only know if you have diabetes after undergoing a diabetes screening test.
Recognising the signs and symptoms of diabetes
Both types of diabetes may present similar symptoms which is why seeking immediate medical help from a GP like Inkerman Medical Group is crucial for your diabetes health.
Signs and Symptoms of Type 1 diabetes
- Frequent urination
- Unexplained weight-loss
- Feeling lethargic and low energy levels
- Blurred vision
- Mood swings
- Leg cramps
- Having cuts that heal slowly
Signs and symptoms of Type 2 diabetes
- Putting on weight
- Itches and skin infections
- Being excessively thirsty
- Low energy level
- Feeling hungry most times
- Blurred vision
- Dizziness and headaches
Apart from being aware of the symptoms, the other important aspect of diabetes awareness is knowing who might be at risk.
Who should be screened for diabetes?
Anyone 45 or older than 45: Since the risk of diabetes also grows with age, it is advised to undergo a glucose test for anyone 45 years old or above. If your results are fine, consult your doctors on how often a diabetes screening is best for you.
Patients with prediabetes: Anyone with early diagnosed prediabetes are recommended to undergo a screening test once every year.
Women with gestational diabetes: Women who have been previously diagnosed with gestational diabetes or who gave birth to a baby weighing more than 9 pounds should consider undergoing a diabetes screening once every year.
Patients with high blood pressure (hypertension) and with a medical history of heart disease should undertake regular diabetes screening.
Family history of diabetes: Anyone with a first-degree family member who is diagnosed with diabetes is at a higher risk than others of also being diagnosed with diabetes.
People with a sedentary lifestyle, less physical activities and abnormal cholesterol levels should seek advice from GPs on how often they should do a diabetes screening test.
The role of a GP in your diabetes care
A GP is well-trained and experienced in providing patients with information on self-management techniques and assisting patients through education, motivation and skills development to manage their diabetic condition.
They will help you learn all the ways in your day-to-day life to help control the disease such as exercise, nutrition and diet, medication and medical interventions.
Our team of doctors have extensive experience in helping our Melbourne patients in diagnosing, managing and preventing prediabetes and diabetes across all age groups.