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Experts warn about diabetes rise

Latest statistics show that up to three million Australians over the age of 25 will have diabetes by 2025.

National Diabetes Week –14 to 20 July – serves as a timely reminder for Australians to take steps to change their risk levels in regard to diabetes.

“It’s really frustrating to know that something as simple as regular exercise could turn these statistics around yet so many Australians are still falling victim to diabetes every year,” said Anita Hobson-Powell, spokesperson for Exercise is Medicine Australia.

“It is a sad indication of our society that while third world countries are battling diseases largely beyond their control, we’re in a position where our fastest growing chronic disease is largely born from over-indulgence and inactivity,” Hobson-Powell said.

Studies show that maintaining a healthy weight can help prevent Type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM), reducing the incidence by almost 60 per cent in people at risk, even delaying its onset, she said.

“It’s crucial that Australians take stock of their activity levels with the aim include at least two-and-a-half hours of exercise into their weekly routine – that’s only around two per cent of the average person’s waking hours.”

“With National Diabetes Week upon us, we encourage everyone to use this opportunity to evaluate their risk levels and to talk to their doctor about whether they are at risk of being diagnosed with T2DM.”

Hobson-Powell said regular exercise was also beneficial to those already living with T2DM as it is known to improve control of blood glucose, decrease the proportion of body fat, decrease the risk of heart disease, and increase heart and lung fitness.

She added, exercise is important at all levels of the health spectrum, from disease prevention, to management and treatment.

“People who have been diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes mellitus (T1DM) can benefit from regular exercise, as studies show physical activity improves how insulin works in the body, decreases the dose of insulin required, improves cardiovascular health and fitness, reduces cardiovascular risk factors and the risk of diabetes-related complications, and improves quality of life,” she said.

People with T1DM who did not have diabetic complications could be involved in most types of exercise and physical activities to help improve their condition.

“T1DM sufferers can enjoy a variety of physical activities, recreational sports and even competitive sport at low, moderate or high intensities, which will all play an important role in improving overall health and quality of life” she said.

“Exercise really is the perfect medicine and it doesn’t have to cost a cent.”

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