Early treatment can save your life and prevent blindness
Are you one of the 500,000 Australians who have type 2 diabetes but don’t know it?
If so, you are missing out on early treatment that could save your life and protect you from blindness, limb amputation, a heart attack, stroke and kidney failure.
Although you can develop type 2 diabetes at any age, your risk increases if you are over 40, says Diabetes Australia.
The organisation marked National Diabetes Week in July with a call for people to get tested for type 2 diabetes. “If you are over 40, make an appointment with your GP to get checked,” it advises.
Differences between type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes
There are two types of diabetes. Here’s what you need to know:
Type 1 diabetes is usually diagnosed in children and young adults but can occur at any age. It is a type of autoimmune disorder and usually starts suddenly. An autoimmune disorder occurs when a person's immune system mistakenly attacks their own body tissues. People with type 1 diabetes always need treatment with insulin.
Type 2 diabetes is far more common than type 1 diabetes and affects more than a million Australians. It is usually diagnosed in people older than 45. You are more likely to get it if your parents had it. Being overweight and not getting enough exercise also increases your risk.
Your doctor may prescribe medication and advise you to try to lose weight. You may also be able to control it with a healthy diet and exercise.
What you need to know about type 1 diabetes
Type 1 diabetes can be fatal if it is not diagnosed in time.
Every year, 640 Australian children and adults are admitted to hospital because the early signs are missed.
The four Ts below are warning signs for type 1 diabetes.
Toilet – going to the toilet a lot
Tired – unexplained or excessive fatigue
Thirsty – a thirst that can’t be quenched
Thinner – sudden or unexplained weight loss
If you or your child have these symptoms, see a doctor immediately, says Diabetes Australia.