As people get older, their risk of Type 2 diabetes increases. Like other parts of your body your pancreas can get tired and not produce as much insulin, or it can produce too much but it can’t work properly because of too much extra body weight especially around our middles. Instead of the energy from your food getting into the cells so you can use it, the glucose sits in your blood stream so when you measure it the blood glucose level is higher than normal. Unused energy is converted into fat and stored. Insulin is like a key that unlocks the cell door to put the glucose inside so you can burn it as energy.
You can’t cure Type 2 diabetes but you can manage it. You become a juggler! You need to juggle food, exercise and medication (if needed) to try and keep your blood glucose levels in the healthy range (4-8 mmols) as much as possible. This can help prevent or delay the complications of diabetes.
So to start on your journey with Type 2 diabetes you need to get educated about it. Diabetes New Zealand has an excellent website (www.diabetes.org.nz).
Your practice nurse and GP are knowledgeable about managing type 2 diabetes. Or you could contact Diabetes Wellington, conveniently located next door to Age Concern in Anvil House in Wakefield Street. There are also education classes provided in some parts of the region.
There will be more articles on living with Type 2 diabetes this year. We will talk about food, exercise, medication, important numbers and caregiving.
If you have any questions about Type 2 diabetes, please do contact Age Concern who can pass questions on to me.
Diabetes Nurse Specialist