Type 2 diabetes is preventable in most instances

The obesity epidemic in Australia is driving an increase in type 2 diabetes.

In the Hunter region, 78 per cent of coal mine workers are currently classified as being overweight or obese. This means over 10,000 of our Hunter Valley and Newcastle coal mining workers are at risk of developing diabetes (and cardiovascular disease). Diabetes Australia claims up to 60 per cent of cases could be prevented by people maintaining a healthy weight.

Facts about diabetes

(Source: Diabetes Australia)

  • 280 Australians develop diabetes everyday
  • over 100,000 Australians have developed diabetes in the past year
  • diabetes is the fastest growing chronic condition in Australia
  • almost 1.1 million Australians currently have diagnosed diabetes

When someone has diabetes, their body is unable to maintain healthy levels of glucose in the blood. Our bodies need to convert glucose (sugar) from food into energy so we function properly. A hormone called insulin is essential in this process. With diabetics, insulin is no longer produced or not produced in sufficient amounts by the body.

Most diabetics manage their condition well with their diet, tablets and/or insulin injections, but on occasions, if their blood glucose levels become too low they may suffer hypoglycaemia. This is an emergency situation where they may become drowsy, unable to swallow or unconscious. An ambulance must be called immediately. Many diabetics wear a ‘diabetic alert’ bracelet to identify their condition in a hypoglycaemic event.

Signs and symptoms of hypoglycaemia:
  • weakness, trembling or shaking
  • paleness or sweating
  • headache or dizziness
  • lack of concentration or irritability
  • hunger
  • numbness around lips and fingers
  • may become unconscious

Consult your local GP if you think you may be suffering, or at risk of diabetes.

The key to long-term protection from lifestyle diseases such as type 2 diabetes is maintaining a healthy diet and undertaking regular physical activity.

For more information visit Diabetes Australia.