11 Jul Diabetes | A chronic disease that can be managed
Next week is National Diabetes Week – an opportune time for everyone to better understand the chronic disease. Diabetes Educator Ingrid Rial, a Registered Nurse here at TDHS, explains the different types of diabetes and what her role entails.
By Ingrid Rial
I feel very blessed to be part of the team at TDHS. As a nurse I have always been passionate about helping people get well. As a diabetes educator I am able to support people with diabetes to manage their chronic illness to achieve good health outcomes. The Timboon health service supported me with my studies to become a diabetes educator which in turn has enabled me to follow my passion of helping people stay well.
There are many myths surrounding what causes diabetes. It is commonly thought that being inactive and eating too much sugar causes diabetes. It is true that lifestyle factors do play a part in preventing diabetes and in the management of diabetes. However your age, ethnic background, genetics and gender also play a role in how at-risk you are of developing Type 2 diabetes.
Diabetes is a chronic autoimmune disease. It is a condition where the body attacks the pancreas where insulin is produced. This hinders the body’s ability to absorb glucose. Glucose is our energy source. Diabetes can be a life threatening disease if not managed properly.
There are 3 types of diabetes.
Type 1 diabetes – this is where the body completely stops producing insulin, it has a quick onset, is usually easily diagnosed and is life threatening if not treated immediately. Type 1 diabetes is usually diagnosed in children but can occur in adults. The cause is unknown.
Type 2 diabetes – this is where the body slows down the production of insulin or the insulin produced is unable to do its job effectively. It has a slow onset and can be easily missed in the early stages. Lifestyle factors play a part in developing type 2 diabetes along with your ethnic background, age, gender and genetics.
There is risk assessment test you can take to see if you are at risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.
It is a good tool to use to see if you are at risk of diabetes. You cannot change your make up, but you can change your lifestyle. Small changes can make a big difference. For example adding 30 minutes activity a day. This can be achieved by parking your car 10 minutes from where you need to go. By doing this you have added 20 minutes of extra walking into your day.
The form can be found here www.lifeprogram.org.au/dmdocuments/documents/128-gp-referral-form-04-2020/file
If you are at risk of diabetes, TDHS offers the Life program – this program supports people to make small changes to their lifestyles and reduce their risk of diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Take the opportunity to take the test and if needed join the Life program. We are very fortunate to have the Life program offered locally.
The third type of diabetes is gestational diabetes. This occurs in pregnant women in the third trimester. During the third trimester hormones are affected including insulin. Every pregnant lady has a Glucose Tolerance Test at 28 weeks to determine if they have gestational diabetes. The condition stops when the lady is no longer pregnant, however these women have 30% more chance of developing Type 2 diabetes.
Common symptoms of diabetes are, tiredness, rapid weight loss, thirst, frequent urination. If you have any of these please go and see your doctor. A simple blood test can determine if you have diabetes.
If diabetes is not managed properly it can cause heart attacks, strokes, poor circulation, nerve damage, deteriorating eye sight and kidney disease. These are not good outcomes. The great news is these conditions can be avoided by good management. This can be done with the help from me.
As mentioned diabetes is a chronic disease that requires good management. I can help all people with all types of diabetes manage their condition and have better health outcomes. Your GP may refer you to a diabetes educator or you can self refer. Please call TDHS if you need support with your diabetes.
This story in our seventh monthly instalment to help mark 2020 the Year of the Nurse and Midwife. The whole series can be found here https://www.timboonhealthcare.com.au/category/year-of-the-nurse/
Nurses make up a significant proportion of our workforce and TDHS would not be able to run without their dedication, skill and compassionate care. We are very excited to be celebrating their valuable contributions throughout the year. We hope you join us in recognising and thanking our nurses.