Think You're Too Young For Diabetes?

By Emma Judges

Surely I’m too young? Think again. Diabetes is often associated with aging – just a ‘normal’ part of getting older. That made sense. Type 2 diabetes was never seen in children, until now.

There are 2 types of diabetes – Type 1 and Type 2. Type 1 is an autoimmune condition, with researchers unsure as to why it happens. It is not linked to modifiable lifestyle factors. There is no cure and it cannot be prevented. However, Type 2 diabetes is a progressive condition, associated with modifiable lifestyle risk factors. Type 2 diabetes also has strong genetic and family related risk factors.

The research is showing that in Australia, 280 people develop diabetes every day.

That’s 1 every 5 minutes. Type 2 diabetes accounts for 85% of all diabetes and is increasing. Type 2 is strongly represented in adults over 45 years, however this is increasing and now occurring in younger age groups.

So let’s talk about Type 2 diabetes and what you can do to minimize your risk factors. While type 2 can be managed, prevention in the first place is key. First, let’s dispel some myths:

  • Diabetes is not serious. There is no such thing as ‘mild’ diabetes. All types are serious and can lead to complications if not managed. Diabetes can affect your life expectancy
  • You have to be overweight or obese to develop diabetes. While being overweight is a risk factor with diabetes, it is not mutually exclusive or a direct cause. People of healthy weight can develop diabetes.
  • People with diabetes can’t eat dessert. It’s important to follow a healthy diet and exercise regime with diabetes. By doing so, you will be able to indulge …at times. Remember, everything in moderation
  • Eat a whole food, nutrient dense diet. Avoid processed foods – anything in a packet.
  • Avoid or limit alcohol.
  • Quit smoking.
  • Maintain your weight.
  • Drink water.
  • Exercise – not only does it help with weight, but by walking briskly for 30min a day can reduce your diabetes risk by 30%! Try to incorporate strength training. Adding muscle helps with long term weight management.
  • Chat to a health coach about how to incorporate these changes into your life.

Remember to always speak to your health care provider about the risk factors of diabetes. Prevention is key.