July 1, 2019
Did you know that according to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, Aboriginal people are almost four times more likely to develop diabetes or pre-diabetes? In addition to this shocking statistic, it was also noted that remote and rural areas have two times more hospitalisations and death rates than major cities.
While these statistics may be scary, the good news is that Type 2 diabetes (the most common form) is largely preventable by maintaining a healthy lifestyle, eating a healthy diet and being more physically active. Being in Wardandi Boodja puts us and our community at a higher risk, so let’s have a look at what Diabetes is, and how we can make changes to our lifestyle to keep our bodies and Moort healthy.
What is it and how does it make you feel?
There are a few different types of Diabetes, however Type 2 is the most common for Aboriginal people. With Type 2 Diabetes, your body does not let the insulin in your body work properly, which means that it cannot break down sugar or send it to the right parts properly. So, you end up with not enough sugar in your muscles… but too much in your blood which can damage your heart, kidneys, feet, eyes and nerves. If you have diabetes or pre diabetes you may get the following feelings:
- Feeling thirsty
- Leg cramps
- Feeling itchy
- Blurry vision
- Sores that won’t heal
- Feeling grumpy and angry
What do I do?
Firstly, if you believe you might have Diabetes, SWAMS can test you and help you manage it. We are here to help so come in and have a yarn with one of the doctors or nurses. Remembering to have regular check-ups can help you and your doctor to see the signs before this disease becomes a problem.
Stop Diabetes in its Tracks!
Having a healthy lifestyle is the easiest way to stop and prevent diabetes. Keeping active and being a healthy weight is one way to help. Get out with your mates, have a kick of the footy or walk along the beach, join a club or get out in the garden.
Eating a healthy diet full of fresh fruit and vegetables, lean meats, bush tucker and foods that are low in sugar is another great way to prevent this disease. Instead of take-away make yourself a colourful stir-fry and share it with your family! Choosing low sugar drinks, drinking lots of water and not drinking too much alcohol can also reduce the risk.
Nobody knows why some people get diabetes and others don’t, but what we do know is that we can reduce the chances of developing it. Knowing that we are at a higher risk means that we can actively make choices to stop it, early.
If you would like to read more about Diabetes in Aboriginal people please visit: https://diabeteswa.com.au/manage-your-diabetes/resources/aboriginal-health-resources/