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World Diabetes Day (November 14) gives voice to people living with diabetes. This year, the focus is on the role that families can play in supporting those living with diabetes to maintain good health and wellbeing.

The day is not only an important reminder for those living with diabetes that they are not alone but also reinforces the practical measures families can take to help detect, prevent and manage diabetes.

The role of families in discovering diabetes

According to statistics from Diabetes Queensland, one in every two people with diabetes is undiagnosed. Early diagnosis and treatment of diabetes is important in helping prevent or delay life-threatening complications. By knowing the warning signs and symptoms of diabetes you can be better equipped to protect yourself and your family.

With approximately 50 percent of all Australians with diabetes aged 65 years or older, it’s especially important for families of older people to get informed about what to look for in their loved ones.

The common symptoms of type 1 diabetes include:

  • Increased thirst
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Weight loss
  • Frequent urination
  • Tummy pain
  • Feeling generally unwell

The symptoms of type 2 diabetes are similar, although some people with the condition do not have any symptoms at all.

 Symptoms of type 2 diabetes include:

  • Increased thirst
  • Increased urination, particularly at night
  • Feeling tired and lethargic
  • Constant hunger
  • Slow healing skin sores
  • Itching skin and skin infections
  • Blurred vision.

The role of families in preventing diabetes

Type 2 diabetes can be prevented by adopting a healthy lifestyle. This includes eating a varied diet consisting of plenty of fruit and vegetables, lean protein and wholegrain cereals, and getting plenty of exercise.

By eating healthy meals and exercising together, you can reduce your family’s risk by setting healthy habits that could prevent type 2 diabetes in the family now and into the future.

The role of families in managing diabetes

Managing diabetes requires a healthy lifestyle, regular monitoring, daily treatment and ongoing education. Family support can make all the difference.

If you have diabetes in your family, learn about the risks and what to look out for to prevent complications. Your support can help your family member sustain good diabetes management habits and can encourage them to seek further medical help when they may need it.

For more information on diabetes and World Diabetes Day activities, visit Diabetes Queensland.

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Belinda Peters
Belinda brings more than 17 years experience in journalism to her role as Seasons Digital Content Writer. As our blog editor, Belinda will take the confusion out of aged care with entertaining and informative stories from across the aged care industry and our Seasons communities.