The Observatory

It’s not all doom and gloom!

At 32 you don’t expect to be told that you’re at an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Following a Work Health Check last year, some questions about diabetes in my family, and a waist measurement, I was told that my over indulgence over the years, growing serving sizes, and inactivity has placed me at a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes in the future.

Of course my first reaction was to ignore what the nurse had told me, but following the January sales I realised that they just don’t make size 12s like they used to! 

Diabetes is the fastest growing chronic disease in Australia and is reaching global epidemic proportions. Having persistently high blood glucose levels can increase the risk of eye conditions like diabetic retinopathy, cataracts, macular oedema and glaucoma. With early detection and regular eye examinations 98 per cent of severe vision loss from diabetes can be avoided.

So with some minor changes to my lifestyle, like making my lunch instead of buying it, and jogging with a friend on a weekly basis for a girlie catch up, one year on I have reduced my waistline and reduced my risk of type 2 diabetes (and saved some money for a holiday at the same time!)

On Thursday 5 July I was invited to speak with the Bacchus Marsh Melton Diabetes Support Group, a friendly bunch of people gathering together to talk about their experiences with diabetes and to learn how to control their diabetes. I attended the support group to share some tips on how people with diabetes can protect their eyesight:

  • have an eye examination when you’re first diagnosed and continue regular eye examinations thereafter
  • if you smoke, then quit
  • maintain a healthy lifestyle that includes regular physical activity and healthy eating to manage blood glucose levels
  • eat your green and yellow vegetables and incorporate fish into your diet for a healthy macular
  • wear protective googles when doing DIY or playing sports like squash
  • wear a hat and sunglasses when out in the sun to protect your eyes from ultraviolet damage.

Positive simple changes to your lifestyle and incorporating regular eye tests can help control the risk of eye diseases like diabetic retinopathy because at the end of the day, it’s not all doom and gloom.

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About the Author

Dee Tumino

Dee manages the Vision Initiative, a health promotion program on eye health and vision care in Victoria. Her tertiary studies include a Bachelor of Arts (Japanese)/Bachelor of Business (Human Resource Management), Health Promotion studies at Monash University and is Prince2 qualified. Her public health background was developed at the Victorian Department of Health as a Senior Project Officer/Project Manager in the areas of sexual health, tobacco control, mental health promotion, evidence and evaluation and health strategy development where she played an instrumental role in the development of the Victorian Public Health and Wellbeing Plan 2011-2015, the States guiding public health, health promotion and health prevention plan.View author's posts
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