World Diabetes Day

World Diabetes Day theme is know your risk for type 2 diabetes to help delay or prevent the condition and the importance of having access to the right information and care to ensure timely treatment and management.

Associate Professor Anthony Dear, Eastern Health Clinical School, Monash University says,

“It’s never too late to make a conscious effort to reduce the health problems associated with type 2 diabetes. Diet, regular exercise, healthy eating and weight, together with medications if required, can avert the long-term health consequences of type 2 diabetes, which include cardiovascular disease impacting heart, brain, kidneys, eyes and legs. We do have choices and modern medicine can potentially help make these choices a little easier.

“The following risk factors are the most significant contributors to the development of type 2 diabetes:

  • Prediabetes, where the blood sugar levels are higher than normal but less than those used in the diagnosis of type 2 diabetes
  • Being overweight
  • Over 55 years old
  • 45 years or older and overweight
  • Over 35 years and Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander background, or Pacific Island, Indian or Chinese background
  • Family history of type 2 diabetes e.g. parent, brother, or sister with it
  • Smoking
  • Physically active less than three times a week
  • Have had gestational diabetes (diabetes during pregnancy)

“Prevention is much better than cure! The following can assist in the prevention of type 2 diabetes:

Lose weight and keep it off. You may be able to prevent or delay diabetes by losing five to seven per cent of your starting weight.

Move more. Get at least 30 minutes of physical activity five days a week. If you have not been active, talk with your health care professional about which activities are best. Start slowly to build up to your goal.

Eat healthy foods most of the time. Eat smaller portions to reduce the amount of calories you eat each day and help you lose weight. Choosing foods with less fat is another way to reduce calories. Drink water instead of sweetened beverages.

Stop smoking. Smokers are 30-40 per cent more likely to develop type 2 diabetes.

Drug therapies aimed at lowering blood glucose and weight loss in patients with prediabetes.

“Research into the incretin hormone system is where the big news is coming from when we talk about new treatments for type 2 diabetes.

  • The body makes a hormone called Glucagon Like Peptide-1 (GLP-1) which is released from the gut when we eat. GLP-1 binds to GLP-1 receptors (GLP-1R) in the pancreas to increase insulin secretion and lower blood glucose.
  • This finding has led to the development of an injectable class of drugs called the GLP-1R agonists which lower blood glucose.
  • Interestingly the GLP-R agonist drugs also seem to have the added benefit of significant weight loss and improvement in cardiovascular disease outcomes in patients with type 2 diabetes … a win-win for these patients!
  • Longer acting GLP-1R agonists (e.g. Ozempic and Wegovy) are now being used to treat not only type 2 diabetes but also obesity in the hope of preventing onset and progression of type 2 diabetes.
  • Recently, new drugs which target multiple components of the incretin hormone system have been developed e.g. Tirzepatide (TGA approved for type 2 diabetes) which may be superior in effect to current GLP-1R agonists. Orally active GLP-1R agonists are also being trialled (e.g. Orforglipron) averting the need to inject on a daily or weekly basis as is currently required when using GLP-1R agonists.” Associate Professor Dear says.