Make no mistake: type 2 diabetes is the biggest health crisis our country is facing. It affects more than 1.3 million people and, with a further 100,000 people diagnosed each year, it's a problem Australia can't ignore.
With calls for the testing age to be reduced from 40 to 35, there is new evidence showing that with younger diagnosis of type 2 diabetes, there is a higher risk of developing complications like blindness, heart disease, stroke, kidney failure, hearing problems and even amputation.
But the real threat, outlined in a study from the US, is the toll type 2 diabetes takes on the brain, leading to increased likelihood of Alzheimer's diease and dementia later in life.
Over a 32 year period, researchers tracked more than 10,000 men and women. At the begining of the study all were free of type 2 diabetes.
Every four years, participants had blood tests and fasting glusocse tests taken, to track their health as they aged.
Of the 10,000 participants, 1,710 were diagnosed with type 2 diabetes over the 32 year period. Of those who developed type 2 diabetes, 639 (37%) went on to develop dementia.
Researchers were able to see for every five years earlier that someone is diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, there is a 24% increase in the risk of developing dementia.
For example, someone diagnosed with type 2 diabetes at age 65 has a 53% increased risk of dementia, but someone diagnosed aged 60 has a 77% increased risk.
An individual diagnosed at age 55 is more than twice as likely to develop dementia than someone the same age who is type 2 diabetes free.
For young people, this is especially worrying. As earlier diagnosis of type 2 increases, with people being diagnosed at age 30 and earlier, their risk of developing dementia later in life is hugely increased.
The increase in younger diagnosis is largely attributed to the rising obesity rates in young people, aided by poor diet and lifestyle choices. This means complications that wouldn't normally progress until later in life, are now affecting people at alarmingly younger ages.
But why? Dr. Peter Brukner says it's important to remember type 2 diabetes is a progressive disease. It can take 10-20 years to develop, which means it's the choices we make in our teens and 20s that can have huge impact in our later years.
This means it's more important than ever to do something about your health, no matter what age you are. A low carb approach to eating has been proven to help put pre-diabetes, type 2 diabetes and other chronic conditions into remission.
It can also help prevent the onset of type 2 diabetes, which is why we're so passionate about helping Australians' live their best lives - right through to old age - through our scientifically proven program.
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