Data sources: Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (2015). Cardiovascular disease, diabetes and chronic kidney disease: Australian facts. NDSS (2015). Data snapshot – Type 2 diabetes (December 2015). National Heart Foundation (2015) Heartdisease in Australia, available from heartfoundation.org.au/about-us/what-we-do/heart-disease-in-australia
Type 2 diabetes is a serious, progressive and complex condition in which the body becomes resistant to the normal effects of insulin and/or gradually loses the capacity to produce enough insulin. We don’t know what causes type 2 diabetes; however it is associated with modifiable lifestyle risk factors.
People with type 2 diabetes often have no symptoms, so they may have diabetes for a number of years without knowing it. Sometimes the first sign that something is wrong is when they develop a complication of diabetes such as a heart attack, vision problems or a stroke.
Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes and affects 85 to 90 per cent of all people with diabetes. It usually develops in adults over the age of 45, but is now being seen in younger people too.
While there is no single cause for type 2 diabetes, there are well-known risk factors. Those most at risk of developing type 2 diabetes include:
Lifestyle risk factors include:
Note: It is important that diabetes is diagnosed and treated early. Those at high risk for type 2 diabetes should have a blood test each year.
Up to 60% of type 2 diabetes can be prevented. People at risk of type 2 diabetes can delay and even prevent this condition by following a healthy lifestyle. This includes:
Gestational diabetes is a type of diabetes that occurs during pregnancy, but usually goes away when the baby is born. Up to 60% of women who have gestational diabetes will go on to develop type 2 diabetes, Type 2 diabetes can be prevented, so it is important to take steps to reduce your risk.
1. Register for the Life! program – Women who have had gestational diabetes are eligible for the Life! helping you prevent diabetes, heart disease & stroke program. This healthy lifestyle program is run by health professionals who can help you learn more about nutrition, physical activity, sleep, stress and staying on track. Call 13 RISK (13 74 75) or email email@example.com to find out more and to enrol.
2. Maintain a healthy weight – Being overweight or obese can increase your risk of developing type 2 diabetes, particularly if the weight is stored around your waist. To learn how to measure your waist click here (NOTE this needs to be linked to correct page)
3. Eat healthy foods – Eat a wide variety of nutritious foods from the five food groups every day and drink plenty of water.
4. Be physically active – Try to be active on most, preferably all, days of the week. Research has shown that just 30 minutes of moderate activity a day has many health benefits. Visit our blog for tips to sneak more exercise into your day. (NOTE needs to be linked to the correct page)
5. Ask your GP for a diabetes risk check-up. The frequency of your check-ups will depend on your individual situation; however, if you are planning another pregnancy, ask about having a glucose tolerance test every year.
Research suggests that gestational diabetes may increase a child’s risk of obesity and type 2 diabetes later in lifeso it’s important to encourage the whole family to lead a healthy life too. You can find more information on healthy living at Better Health Channel’s Healthy Living Section.
 Buchanan, Thomas A., Anny H. Xiang, and Kathleen A. Page. “Gestational Diabetes Mellitus: Risks and Management during and after Pregnancy.” Nature reviews. Endocrinology 8.11 (2012): 639–649. PMC. Web. 10 Apr. 2018.
Noctor, Eoin, and Fidelma P Dunne. “Type 2 Diabetes after Gestational Diabetes: The Influence of Changing Diagnostic Criteria.” World Journal of Diabetes 6.2 (2015): 234–244. PMC. Web. 10 Apr. 2018.
 Handbook on Type 2 Diabetes from RACGP
 Damm, P., Houshmand-Oeregaard, A., Kelstrup, L. et al. Diabetologia (2016) 59: 1396. Gestational Diabetes mellitus and long-term consequences for mother and offspring
Cardiovascular disease is a chronic condition that affects the heart and blood vessels, and can result in heart disease and stroke.
Cardiovascular disease is often due to the build-up of fatty deposits or ‘plaque’ on the inside wall of the blood vessels that supply your heart, brain and body. The blood vessels become narrower or even blocked by the fatty deposits, so the flow of blood is restricted. When blood supply to the heart is blocked, this results in heart attack. When blood supply to the brain is blocked, this results in stroke.
For more information on heart disease visit The Heart Foundation website.
For more information on stroke visit The Stroke Foundation website.