How do I know if my diabetes is “mild” or “serious”?
There is no type of diabetes that is more or less serious than another. What is important is the level of glucose in your blood. If blood glucose levels are high over time the risk of causing damage to other areas of your body increases. Being active and eating well are always the first steps in keeping your blood glucose levels in a safe range. However, medications are important at improving insulin resistance or increasing your body’s insulin production. Insulin may be needed, not because your diabetes is “worse” or “serious” but simply because your own pancreas is not able to produce enough insulin for your body. The complications of diabetes are serious. Diabetes does not have to be serious with the right support and regular care.
How is type 2 diabetes diagnosed?
Diabetes is diagnosed by a blood test, which your GP or nurse practitioner can order. There are a few different blood tests. Ask for your result and write it down. For example, if the test was a glycated haemoglobin (HbA1c), the number will be a percent (%). 6.5% and over means diabetes is likely. If it was a fasting or random blood glucose it will be in millimoles per litre (mmol/L) and 7.0 mmol/L or over means diabetes is likely.
Will I have to take insulin?
Type 2 diabetes is a complicated condition. Even after doing everything you can to eat well and stay active, you may still require extra insulin. This is because the cells in your pancreas that make insulin are not working as well as they used to. The cause could be genetic or the consequences of getting older.
If your body cannot produce the insulin you need then the best treatment is to replace that insulin. The only way we can give insulin is as an injection under the skin. If you need insulin it’s not your fault. It does not mean your diabetes is “serious” or “worse”. It is natural to feel nervous about injecting any medication. Talk to a diabetes educator about your concerns. We’re here to help.
Is it possible to achieve diabetes remission?
New research has shown it is possible for some people with type 2 diabetes to reduce their average glucose level to achieve an HbA1c of under 6.5% (48mmol/mol) and sustain them at that level for a prolonged period of time (at least three months) – without the need for glucose lowering medication. This is referred to as type 2 diabetes ‘remission’. However, remission is not achievable for everyone with type 2 diabetes. Diabetes Australia has developed a position statement on diabetes remission to help people with diabetes and health professionals make informed choices. You can read the statement on their website here.
For more information about Type 2 diabetes, please visit Diabetes Australia here.