Change of lifestyle: John Wright has changed his life since being diagnosed with type two diabetes.
Change of lifestyle: John Wright has changed his life since being diagnosed with type two diabetes.

Diabetes threat changes your life

APRIL 2005 changed Warwick resident John Wright’s life forever as he heard the grim news which has affected about 930 others in the Warwick region.

He was diagnosed with type two diabetes.

The condition is on the rise, and with this week being National Diabetes Week, Diabetes Australia wants to get its message to the public, “Don’t Risk Diabetes; Don’t be the type to leave it too late”.

Mr Wright said before he was diagnosed with the condition, which causes the cells to not respond to insulin properly and the pancreas to produce inadequate insulin for the body’s increased needs, he didn’t know anything about it.

“At the time I had a sugar level of 31 – normally people get hospitalised at that point, and my doctor gave me the riot act,” Mr Wright said.

A Diabetes Australia spokeswoman said the number of people suffering type two diabetes in the region was very high, equivalent to the population of Killarney.

Mr Wright wanted to warn others heading down the same path to listen to their bodies and be healthy, or face a devastating future.

“For me having diabetes means I am exhausted all the time – I just feel like sleeping all the time and that is when I most need to do exercise,” he said.

Mr Wright’s body has been savaged by the complications of type two diabetes for more than five years. He said one of the complications was depression, which he believed contributed to him losing his job.

“When you are least able to fight is when you most need to,” he said.

“I think diabetes is a promise. We are all told what we should be doing – once you get diabetes, it’s a promise you are going to die.”

Type two diabetes can lead to heart disease, stroke, kidney failure and limb amputation, and Mr Wright said on average from the time people were diagnosed with diabetes they had less than 20 years to live.

Mr Wright said he was now a gym junkie and never thought he would say he enjoyed the taste of fresh crisp lettuce. He had to completely change his life to continue to live.

“I found a gym straight away – the important thing was I wasn’t going to the gym for fitness or to win any race, I was there to keep myself alive,” he said.

The Diabetes Queensland campaign will encourage Sunshine State dwellers to assess their risk of developing diabetes via a new online screening tool on their website.

The screening tool asks participants a series of simple questions based around issues such as family history of diabetes, ethnicity, age and lifestyle habits and provides a numerical risk rating of how prone you may be to developing diabetes.

Visit the Diabetes Queensland website at www.diabetesqld.org.au.

The risks

Risk factors of diabetes:

  •  People aged 45 and over who are obese or overweight, have high blood pressure or have a first degree relative with type two diabetes are at risk.
  •  Women whose waist measures 80cm or more and men whose waist measures 90cm or more are at an increased risk.
  •  Common symptoms include being more thirsty than usual, passing more urine, feeling tired and lethargic, slow-healing wounds, itching and skin infections, blurred vision and mood swings.
  •  Up to 60 per cent of type two diabetes cases can be prevented by doing simple things like doing 30 minutes of exercise each day, eating well and maintaining a healthy weight.
  •  Evidence shows people are living with type two diabetes for several years before they are diagnosed.


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