Your top 3 diabetes questions answered: #2

Diabetes WA educator Marian Brennan takes us through the top 3 most asked questions on the Diabetes WA Information and Advice Line (1300 136 588).

#2 My GP told me I have pre-diabetes. What is this and what do I do?

So, do I have diabetes or not?

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Pre-diabetes (Impaired Fasting Glucose and/or Impaired Glucose Tolerance) is when blood glucose levels are higher than normal, but not yet at the level where type 2 diabetes is diagnosed. Pre-diabetes affects more than 2 million Australians over the age of 25.

The good news is that you do not have type 2 diabetes, and you are now in a position to prevent or delay onset of type 2 diabetes. The Bad news is that you are at high risk of developing type 2 diabetes in the future.

Where to from here?

Look at this as a your chance to walk away from type 2 diabetes!

The possible complications of type 2 diabetes are not nice, to put it mildly. Type 2 diabetes puts you at increased risk of blindness, heart attacks, kidney disease and lower-limb amputations.

However research shows that 58% of people with pre-diabetes are able to prevent or delay type 2 diabetes with healthy lifestyle interventions. That’s more than half!  

So what can – and what can’t –  you do about it?

Apple, pear, tape and glucometer

Risk factors that you CAN’T change

It is important to remember that some people will be at higher risk of type 2 diabetes than others, through no fault of their own. You can’t change:

  • Having a family history of diabetes
  • Being over 40 years of age
  • Being of Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islander, Melanesian, Polynesian, Chinese or Indian subcontinent descent
  • Being a woman who has had gestational diabetes or who has polycystic ovary syndrome
  • Having a history of heart disease.

Risk factors that you CAN change

However the following risk factors can be changed or improved!

  • Being overweight: having a waist measurement over 80cm for women and over 94cm for men
  • Being physically inactive
  • Not following a healthy eating pattern
  • Smoking
  • Having high cholesterol or blood pressure.
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Programs like My Healthy Balance can help reduce your risk!

Healthy lifestyle goals such as aiming for five serves of veggies a day and getting 30-45 mins of exercise a day will go a long way in helping you reduce your risk of type 2 diabetes.

Having trouble getting motivated? Diabetes WA has healthy lifestyle programs to help you reduce your risk!

  • Walking Away From Diabetes. This program helps people at risk of type 2 diabetes, avoid a type 2 diabetes diagnosis.
  • SHED-IT. This weight loss program is made by blokes, for blokes. Shed that grabbable gut without eating like a rabbit.
  • My Healthy Balance. This is a FREE online, healthy lifestyle program.

Or contact me or one of our other diabetes educators on DIAL on 1300 136 588.

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Marian is a Diabetes Educator and an Accredited Exercise Physiologist at Diabetes WA.

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