So you’ve just received a diagnosis that has sent ripples of shock racing down your spine: you thought you were too young or healthy to develop Type 2 Diabetes.
So what do you do now? Who do you turn to? What are your treatment options? And most importantly, what the heck do you do about your diet?
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An Accredited Practising Dietitian (APD) can answer all of these questions and more, helping to guide you to a basic and safe understanding of your diabetes diagnosis.
Working alongside your doctor, they will provide you with the most up-to-date recommendations for nutritional management of your condition, while helping you find a diabetes management plan that works for you.
APDs can help you manage your condition while providing you with the moral support that helps you feel more in control.
Here’s how a Dietitian can be your diabetes superhero:
- Advocate on your behalf to your primary healthcare team (your GP or Specialist);
- Educate you about everything food and diabetes. They will be your myth-buster and nutrition guru, helping you to stay as healthy as possible;
- Explain when, how much and what to eat to stay in tip-top condition;
- Show you how meal planning can best manage your blood glucose levels;
- Teach you how to shop for groceries, read nutrition labels, and prepare meals that you enjoy;
- Share tasty cooking tips, recipe modifications and hacks, and snack ideas;
- Help you manage the changes that are required mentally, emotionally and physically.
What is diabetes?
Diabetes is a chronic condition caused by the glucose levels (sugar) in your blood being too high. Blood glucose levels are normally regulated by the hormone insulin, which is made by the pancreas. Diabetes occurs when there is a problem with this hormone and how it works in the body.
In Australians aged over 18, about 5 percent of the population have diabetes. And as we age, the risk of developing diabetes increases – from 2.8 percent in 35-44 year olds, to 15 percent in those aged 65 to 74. Sadly, Aboriginal Australians have highest rates of Type 2 diabetes in the world, at 8 percent.
If left untreated, high blood glucose levels can negatively affect your organs, blood vessels, nerves and cognitive functions. Diabetes is a leading cause of kidney failure and dialysis, as well as a major cause of limb amputations. Early diagnosis and effective, ongoing support are essential to reducing the risk of diabetes-related complications.
Different types of diabetes
Type 1 Diabetes: This type of diabetes is considered an autoimmune disease and accounts for about 10 percent of all diabetes. Your body is usually unable to produce insulin. Most individuals with Type 1 Diabetes will need insulin injections. Healthy eating and regular physical activity may also be a part of the treatment plan.
Type 2 Diabetes: The most common form, Type 2 affects about 85% of people with diabetes. With this type of diabetes, your body is unable to correctly use the insulin that your body produces. If you have Type 2, it can sometimes be managed by healthy eating and exercise alone – though these things help at all stages. Some people with Type 2 Diabetes may also require medications in the form of tablets or injections.
Gestational Diabetes: This type of diabetes occurs during pregnancy, when your body is unable to make enough insulin to support your growing baby and changing hormones – and can lead to pregnancy complications if left uncontrolled. Gestational diabetes can sometimes be managed through healthy eating and physical activity, but some women may require medications for blood glucose control.
Pre-Diabetes: Pre-diabetes means you have a higher-than-normal blood glucose level, which is not yet Type 2 Diabetes. To prevent or delay the onset of Type 2 Diabetes, healthy eating and exercise can manage your pre-diabetes and provide control over blood glucose.
The diabetes signs and symptoms
Not everyone presents with the same symptoms prior to a diabetes diagnosis. However, the most common sigs are:
- An insatiable thirst;
- Frequent urination;
- Weight gain or weight loss
- Blurred vision
- Numbness/tingling in the hands and feet;
- Frequent infections;
- Cuts/bruises that take a long time to heal.
These symptoms are often not present in the early stages of diabetes development. If you have a family history of diabetes, you should consider yearly check-ups with your Doctor to monitor your blood glucose levels and see a Dietitian about a preventative diet. The earlier you take action, the lower your risk of severe complications.
Call us at South Coastal Health & Community Services today!
As well as diabetes management, our dietitian offers individual consults for those needing support with:
- Healthy eating for general physical and mental health
- Reducing cholesterol or blood pressure
- IBS and gastrointestinal disorders
- Optimising nutrition in pregnancy
- Fussy eating in children
- Managing food allergies and intolerances
- Understanding food labels, meal budgeting and planning
Please click here for information on how to book etc.