We- millennials- usually don’t worry too much about how lifestyle choices can affect our health in the long run. We binge drink, we eat A LOT of crap, we spend multiple hours a day sitting in front of screens and we don’t get nearly enough daily exercise (that’s if you believe all the media reports out there). So it’s no wonder we’re developing chronic illnesses such as type 2 diabetes much younger.
While a lot of us might think that we are immune to chronic illnesses and invincible in general, we are not. The choices we make might be leading us to premature aging and early death. Yes, this is a gloomy outlook but it might become a reality if we do not change the lifestyle choices we make.
According to studies, obesity rates in Australia are climbing faster than anywhere else in the world. As a country, we are spending way too much on take-away and are becoming a fast-food nation. We even have McDelivery available so you can get McGoodies delivered to your front door, getting your junk-food fix with no effort whatsoever. To top it all off, diabetes is becoming the fastest growing chronic illness in the country and type 2 diabetes is estimated to be costing us $10.3 billion a year. I repeat, $10.3 BILLION. A YEAR!
The economic burden of diabetes, however, doesn’t compare to the burden of the disease on a person’s health. Diabetes-related complications include kidney disease, heart disease, stroke, nerve problems and foot problems. I can’t emphasise enough that diabetes is a serious condition that can have long-term effects if not managed well.
Surprisingly, many of us have little understanding of diabetes and awareness about the differences between type 1 and type 2 is very limited. Simply put, type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease where the body attacks its own immune system and healthy insulin-producing cells in the pancreas. Type 1 is more likely to be diagnosed in children and young adults where as type 2 diabetes is the form of diabetes that is related to ageing, family history and lifestyle factors (being overweight and inactivity). FYI: both types of diabetes are characterized by having higher than normal blood sugar levels (BSL).
The good news is that type 2 diabetes can be managed and in most cases, prevented through simple lifestyle changes (healthy-eating, exercise etc). While type 2 diabetes can be prevented, it cannot be cured so it is crucial that we alter our lifestyle choices to minimize the risks of developing T2.
Until next time, stay safe and be healthy!