West Moreton Health endocrinologist Dr Thomas Dover
West Moreton Health endocrinologist Dr Thomas Dover

Simple steps to reverse effects of type 2 diabetes

A TYPE 2 diabetes diagnosis is not good news, but West Moreton Health endocrinologist Dr Thomas Dover says in many cases it is possible to reverse the effects.

"What is commonly misunderstood about type 2 diabetes is that it is potentially reversible."

Dr Dover is calling on the community to have a diabetes check following National Diabetes Week.

Type 1 diabetes often begins in childhood, and occurs when the pancreas does not produce insulin, the hormone that helps keep the body's blood sugar levels from getting too high or too low. With type 2 diabetes, the pancreas produces some insulin, but either not enough for the body's needs or the body's cells are resistant to it.

People who are overweight or obese are at greater risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

"We know approximately 50 per cent of cases of type 2 diabetes go undetected," Dr Dover said.

"Being overweight or obese, together with a family history of type 2 diabetes, and poor diet and lack of exercise can leave people at serious risk of developing the condition."

Dr Dover said it was important for people with type 2 diabetes to find ways to manage it as it is a chronic disease and the number one cause of heart attack, heart failure and stroke in Australia and the western world.

"If people lose enough weight by reducing their calorie intake and exercising, they can put type 2 diabetes into remission," he said.

"The most important part of weight loss is diet - you can't out-exercise a bad diet.

"For example, just one extra Tim Tam a day requires 20 minutes of walking to burn it off, so calorie reduction and reduced portion sizes are the top goals for weight loss."

Dr Dover said anyone who is aged over 40 and overweight or obese should see their GP to have a screening blood test for type 2 diabetes.

Dr Dover said that while type 1 could not be prevented, people should also be on the lookout for its signs, including being thirsty and drinking more than usual, increased urination, unexplained weight loss, feeling tired or mood changes.