Buy This Issue
The Weekend Neos Kosmos : 4 July 2015
DIGITAL.NEOSKOSMOS.COM THE WEEKEND NEOS KOSMOS | SATURDAY 4 JULY 2015 19 FOOD detection and prevention At least two million Australians currently have type 2 diabetes, researcher Dr Christos Tikellis of the Baker IDI Heart & Diabetes Institute tells Neos Kosmos ANASTASIA TSIRTSAKIS With a family history of diabetes, from a young age, the deadly disease has been on my radar, and according to recent statistics, it should also be on yours. Today alone, at least 300 people will develop type 2 diabetes in Australia, while at least a quarter of Australians will develop it in their lifetime. With 60 per cent of Australians classified as overweight or obese, it's no coincidence. But this isn't a new revelation. For over 2,000 years, the disease has been affecting people throughout the world, and it was in the first century AD that a Greek by the name of Aretaeus termed the devastating nature of the disease as 'diabetes', the Greek word for 'siphon'. Neos Kosmos picked the brains of researcher Dr Christos Tikellis of the Baker IDI Heart & Diabetes Institute to give you the lowdown on everything you need to know about diabetes, its detection and prevention. Neos Kosmos (NK): What exactly is diabetes? Dr Christos Tikellis (Dr CT): To keep our body functioning, glucose must always be present in our blood. It's as important as oxygen in the air we breathe. To achieve this level of control is not easy. Some days you might eat a feast and follow it with baklava. Other times you might eat nothing at all. Yet through it all, our glucose levels will normally fluctuate only very slightly. This is achieved thanks to an elaborate system of checks and balances that carefully regulates how much glucose is going into the blood and how much is going out. Diabetes is the state in which this balance fails and glucose levels rise. As sugars are digested and absorbed from your diet, they trigger the release of hormones, the most important of which is insulin, which is made and released by the beta cells of the pancreas. Insulin coordinates the body's response to rising blood glucose levels, telling the cells of the liver, muscles and fat to take away glucose from the blood (and store it for later use). It also tells the liver to stop making and releasing any extra glucose, which is rendered unnecessary by having just had a meal. Diabetes occurs when there is not enough insulin (or insulin function) to keep glucose levels under control. NK: What are the factors that contribute to loss of insulin functions? Are there different types of diabetes? Dr CT: Many different factors can contribute to the decline and loss of insulin's functions. In some people, their immune system can inadvertently destroy the insulin producing beta-cells of the pancreas. This is called type 1 diabetes and accounts for around 10 per cent of all cases. It can occur at any age, not just in children and adolescents. Regular insulin injections are always needed to treat it. At present there is no way to restore the body's ability to make its own insulin, but a cure may be possible one day. The most common form of diabetes is type 2 diabetes, which accounts for over 90 per cent of cases. At least two million Australians currently have type 2 diabetes, and by 2030 it is anticipated that one in 10 adults in the world will have it. It is usually caused by having too much fat in the body, which increases the demand for insulin while at the same time reducing the ability to make enough. Also, sometimes during pregnancy women temporarily develop gestational diabetes. It is thought to occur because the pancreas in not able to make the extra insulin (two to three times more than normal) required to control glucose levels during their pregnancy, so glucose levels start to rise. NK: How does someone typically develop diabetes? Dr CT: Type 2 diabetes usually starts out as a silent disease. The symptoms of fatigue, lethargy, poor vision, irritability, reduced libido, passing urine more frequently or having to get out of bed at night to go the toilet that go with diabetes may all be dismissed as signs of getting old or other problems. CONTINUED ON PAGE 20 A healthier diet can help cure Type II Diabetes.
27 June 2015
11 July 2015