Type 2 Diabetes Risk Factors
The exact causes of type 2 diabetes are still unknown; however, it is associated with a number of modifiable lifestyle risk factors including high blood pressure and being overweight. It is a major consequence of the obesity epidemic, resulting from poor diet and lack of activity/sedentary jobs.
Type 2 diabetes usually develops in adults over the age of 45 years but is increasingly occurring in younger age groups including children, adolescents and young adults.
It is more likely in people with a family history of type 2 diabetes or from particular ethnic backgrounds including Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander, Pacific Islander, Indian or Chinese.
Women who have given birth to a child over 4.5kg (9 lbs), or had gestational diabetes when pregnant, or had a condition known as Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, are also at higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
Type 2 Diabetes Symptoms
- Is the leading cause of blindness in working age adults
- Is a leading cause of kidney failure and dialysis
- Increases the risk of heart attacks and stroke by up to four times
- Is a major cause of limb amputations
- Affects mental health as well as physical health.
Early diagnosis, optimal treatment and effective ongoing support and management reduce the risk of diabetes-related complications.
Many people with type 2 diabetes display no symptoms. As type 2 diabetes is commonly (but not always) diagnosed at a later age, sometimes signs are dismissed as a part of ‘getting older’. In some cases, by the time type 2 diabetes is diagnosed, the complications of diabetes may already be present.
For some the first sign may be a complication of diabetes such as a heart attack, vision problems or a foot ulcer.
Symptoms of type 2 diabetes include:
- Being excessively thirsty
- Passing more urine
- Feeling tired and lethargic
- Always feeling hungry
- Having cuts that heal slowly
- Itching, skin infections
- Blurred vision
- Gradually putting on weight
- Mood swings
- Feeling dizzy
- Leg cramps
Type 2 Diabetes Prevention
People at risk of type 2 diabetes can delay and even prevent the condition by:
- Maintaining a healthy weight
- Exercising regularly
- Eating well
- Managing blood pressure
- Managing cholesterol levels
- Not smoking
Type 2 Diabetes Management
Type 2 diabetes is managed with a combination of regular physical activity, healthy eating and weight reduction. As type 2 diabetes is often progressive, most people will need oral medications and/or insulin injections in addition to lifestyle changes over time.