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Diabetes & Exercise

Diabetes is on the rise in Australia with the prevalence increasing rapidly over the last few years with 1.7 million Australians to have diabetes. Unfortunately of the 1.7 million it is estimated that approximately 500,000 of these individuals are unaware that they have the condition and this can lead to major health concerns.

What is Diabetes

Diabetes is a chronic disease that is complex and affects the entire body. Diabetes occurs when your body can’t maintain healthy levels of blood glucose, also called blood sugar. Typically individuals with type 2 diabetes having blood sugars or BGLs above 6mmol/L. This can lead to short and long term health complications. The 3 types of diabetes are:

Type 2 Diabetes – accounts for 85-90% of all diabetes conditions. is a progressive condition in which the body becomes resistant to the normal effects of insulin and/or gradually loses the capacity to produce enough insulin in the pancreas. By adjusting modifiable lifestyle risk factors such as physical activity and diet can reduce and treat type 2 diabetes.

Type 1 Diabetes – accounts for 10%of all diabetes conditions and is an auto-immune condition in which the immune system is activated to destroy the cells in the pancreas which produce insulin.

Gestational Diabetes - is a form of diabetes that occurs during pregnancy with approximately 14% of pregnant women will develop gestational diabetes around the 24th to 28th week.

What causes diabetes?

Diabetes occurs when the body is unable to convert glucose(sugar) from food into energy. This inability to convert glucose to energy is a result of insufficient levels or not producing at all the hormone insulin. This results in the glucose staying in the blood resulting in high blood glucose levels.

Risk Factors & Symptoms

There are many risk factors associated with type 2 diabetes but fortunately many are modifiable lifestyle factors including high blood pressure, overweight or obesity, insufficient physical activity, poor diet and the classic ‘apple shape’ body where extra weight is carried around the waist. Unfortunately a major risk factor we are unable to alter being family history

People are at a higher risk of getting type 2 diabetes if they:
           - Family history of diabetes
           - Over the age of 55 years of age  
           - Over 45 years of age and are overweight and/or have high
              blood pressure
           - Over 35 years of age and are from an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander background
           - A woman who has given birth to a child over 4.5 kgs (9 lbs), or had gestational diabetes when pregnant, or had a condition               known as Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome.

Common symptoms of diabetes includes:
          - Being more thirsty than usual                                 
          - Passing more urine
          - Feeling tired and lethargic                          
          - Always feeling hungry
          - Blurred vision                                                   
          - Slow healing cuts - Itching, skin infections
          - Unexplained weight loss (type 1)             
          - Gradually putting on weight (type 2)
          - Mood swings                                                   
          - Headaches
          - Feeling dizzy                                                      
          - Leg cramps

 If you have any of these conditions we recommend you book in a visit to see your GP.

How we can help?

Fortunately as Accredited Exercise Physiologist we are able to help you when it comes to Type 2 Diabetes.  Increasing physical activity can reduce the incidence of T2DM by almost 60% in people at risk. Benefits of exercise for individuals with type 2 diabetes includes:
    - Improved management of blood glucose,
    - Decrease body fat around the waist
    - Decrease the risk of heart disease, and
    - Increase heart and lung capacity & health
    - Decreased reliance on medication to manage blood glucose

If blood glucose levels remain high this can lead to earlier onset of associated diseases and complications such as heart, kidney and eye diseases, as well as increased risk of death.

At Ex Phys Australia we offer Diabetes Exercise Classes at all of our clinics. The class runs for 60 minutes and cost $15 per class. Fortunately with a Type 2 Diabetes Group referral from your GP you can get 8 funded classes per year.

If you would like more information on how we can HELP contact us at Ex Phys Australia today! 

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