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easy ways to prevent type 2 diabetes - healthmint medical centre

5 Easy Ways to Lower Your Type 2 Diabetes Risk

By Diabetes, Nutrition

What is type 2 diabetes?

Type 2 diabetes is a chronic disease that affects millions worldwide. With type 2 diabetes, the way the body processes blood sugar (glucose) levels is affected as the body either produces not enough insulin or it resists insulin. This results in too much glucose being present in the blood. Effects of uncontrolled cases can cause serious health issues including kidney failure, heart disease and blindness to name a few. 

There are certain factors that may influence your likelihood to develop type 2 diabetes that you can’t change, such as genes, age and past behaviours. However, there are many actions you can take to reduce your risk of developing type 2 diabetes. 

The good news is that pre-diabetes and type 2 diabetes are largely preventable. Making positive lifestyle changes is the number one way to avoid the disease. These same changes can also help lower the chances of developing other conditions like heart disease and some cancers. 

Achieving a healthy weight, eating a balanced carbohydrate controlled diet, getting regular exercise and not smoking all help to improve blood glucose control. 

Most people know they need to make changes, but it can be difficult to know how to stick with it. 

Don’t forget you’re not alone in this – your GP can help support you, and a Dietitian can complement this by helping to set goals that are realistic and work for you. Changing one thing at a time and making the changes part of your every day is a great way to set you up for successfully lowering your risk of developing type 2 diabetes. 

Ways to lower your type 2 diabetes risk

 

1. Exercise 

Keeping up regular physical activity several days a week may help prevent diabetes. Working out more frequently and working your muscles more often leads to improvements in insulin response and function. High intensity, strength training and interval training have been shown to reduce insulin resistance and blood sugar in those in high risk categories for diabetes. 

Simple walking briskly for a half hour every day can reduce the risk of developing the disease by up to 30%.

excersise is important for preventing type 2 diabetes

2. Keeping your weight under control

If you are overweight, diabetes prevention may hinge on weight loss. Every kilo you lose can improve your health. 

keeping your weight under control is important for preventing type 2 diabetes

3. Cut out the sugary beverages and processed foods

Eating and drinking things containing high levels of sugar and refined carbs can put those at risk of diabetes on the fast track to developing type 2 diabetes. Sugary drinks like soft drinks, fruit juices and pre-mixed alcoholic drinks have been linked to an increased risk of type 2 diabetes. 

Consuming adequate amounts of water may provide benefits. Some studies have found that increased water consumption may lead to better blood sugar control and insulin response, thereby reducing the risk of diabetes. 

Processed foods are linked to all sorts of health problems including heart disease, obesity and diabetes. Cutting back on packaged foods that are high in vegetable oils, refined grains, refined carbs, excess sugar and additives may help reduce the risk of diabetes. Focusing on whole foods like nuts, fruits, vegetables, and lean meats can be beneficial.  

cutting out sugar foods and drinks helps to prevent type 2 diabetes

4. Quit Smoking 

It’s well known that smoking has been shown to either cause or contribute to a multitude of serious health conditions, including many types of cancers, emphysema, and heart disease. 

There has been research linking both smoking and second hand smoke exposure to type 2 diabetes. Quitting has been shown to reduce the risk over time. 

Quitting smoking helps to prevent the onset of type 2 diabetes

5. Optimise Vitamin D Levels

Vitamin D is important for blood sugar control. Studies have found that people who don’t get enough vitamin D have a greater risk of all types of diabetes. Good food sources of vitamin D include fatty fish and cod liver oil, in addition to a safe amount of sun exposure. Vitamin D levels can also be increased with supplements. 

The best way to lower your risk of type 2 diabetes is knowing you have control over many of the factors that influence diabetes. Pre-diabetes can be seen as a motivator for making the necessary changes that can help to reduce your risk. Consuming the right foods and adopting other lifestyle behaviours that promote healthy blood sugar and insulin levels will give you the best chance at avoiding diabetes. 

food sources that help increase levels of vitamin D - which can help prevent type 2 diabetes

Ask a HealthMint GP about: 

  • A weight loss program or group 
  • Seeing a registered dietitian 
  • A type 2 diabetes prevention program

It can also help to get your family and friends involved – eating better and moving more is good for everyone! 

patient and doctor sitting in an appointment discussing chronic disease management

Chronic Disease Management

By Chronic Disease, Chronic Pain, Diabetes No Comments

Chronic Disease Management in General Practice

Almost half of the population of Australia suffer with at least one chronic disease and these conditions account for the vast majority of the causes of illness, disability and death. Chronic diseases are also on the rise in our society, mainly due to longer life expectancy & a historical change in lifestyle.

So what is a chronic disease?

A chronic disease is a medical condition that is long term and persisting, slow to progress but can lead to severe disability and a shorter lifespan.

Examples of chronic diseases that are common in Australia include:

  • Diabetes Mellitus
  • Heart disease
  • Arthritis
  • Asthma
  • Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)
  • Chronic kidney disease
  • Chronic back pain
  • Mental health conditions
  • Some cancers

What can I do to help manage my chronic condition?

There are many complex factors that contribute towards disease such as genetics, gender & environment, yet many conditions are triggered by lifestyle factors such as smoking, high alcohol consumption, poor diet (and obesity) and lack of physical activity.

Make sure you have a great GP

When you go to see a great GP if you have multiple issues to discuss, they will break them down into what’s most important and start with those, and invite you to return to spend more time going through the rest of the things on your list. That’s because a great GP knows that rushing through everything in one go is not really doing justice to your needs. You can read more about what to look for in a great GP

Have a healthy lifestyle

Live a healthy lifestyle. Many people with chronic conditions feel better with a good diet, being as active as they can be, being a healthy weight, not smoking and minimising alcohol.

Medication 

Understand the medication you take – make sure your GP reviews them on a yearly basis if you are taking them long term.

Management Plan

Ask your GP for a chronic disease management plan (see below)

The power of a good GP

People may not realise that GPs and practice nurses are experts in screening for risk factors of chronic health problems, poor lifestyle, recognise early symptoms as well as advising and empowering people on proactive lifestyle changes or active treatment to prevent the disease.

However, once a person has developed a chronic disease, the GP becomes the facilitator to direct that person’s care, with the focus being less on cure but control of progression,  avoidance of complications such as disability, hospitalisation and early death.

It could be argued that good GP care in recent times has helped revolutionise the care of illness, with the realistic expectation for people to live a near normal life with a chronic disease rather than suffer significant suffering and an early demise.

What is an integrated chronic disease management plan?

The Australian Government continues to invest in GPs leading disease management through the chronic disease management plan (CDM), a medicare rebatable case meeting with the GP and/or practice nurse to work in partnership with the patient to set goals of treatment and plan how these are going to be reached. Goals usually have a pragmatic and realistic focus on achieving optimal health and functional outcomes in living with the condition. The plan will involve various measures that incorporates clinician-led medical treatment and lifestyle measures that the patient is given the responsibility to build into their routine.

Part of this plan often involves generating a team care arrangement (TCA) to enlist the help of 2 or more allied health professionals such as a physiotherapist, podiatrist, dietitian etc to reach these health goals. Up to 5 visits to private allied health professionals are subsidised per year under these plans.

Not everyone qualifies for a CDM & TCA plan; the rules stipulate that a person must possess a valid medicare card and have a chronic medical condition. Medicare have entrusted GPs with the discretion of what constitutes a chronic disease, yet it is essentially an illness that has lasted for at least 6 months.

Separate from the CDM, there are also separately funded GP-led care plans enabled for diabetes and mental health, two of the more common long term health problems in our society.

Chronic disease management at HealthMint

At HealthMint we believe that the value of a high quality plan comes in a skilled, perceptive and enthusiastic GP and/or practice nurse dedicating a good amount of time to the patient, considering a tailored plan to the individual and providing practical tips on how to achieve the best health outcomes.

We are confident that we provide a superior service since time and effort has been put into gathering an excellent group of caring GPs and nurses who are provided with the time to spend getting to know their patients, enabling them to work in partnership to inspire and empower these patients to improve their health and quality of life in spite of their chronic disease.

We recommend that if you find yourself hampered by unpleasant symptoms of a chronic medical illness on a daily basis then do not waste another day settling for second best, and book an appointment with one of our GPs or practice nurses to discuss your management options.

Access the factsheet for patients on chronic disease management.

Dr Chris Madden GP at HealthMint Medical Centre Croydon Central Shopping CentreThis article was written by

Dr Chris Madden, GP

General Practitioner MBBS, FRACGP, DRCOG, DFSRH, BSc (Hons)

Chris is passionate about delivering high quality holistic care in the community. He really enjoys interacting with patients, recognising and advising on their physical and emotional problems as well as counselling on preventative medicine and lifestyle change to help people achieve their best long term health. Chris is devoted to educating, inspiring and mentoring future GPs & is an accredited supervisor & Medical Educator with Eastern Victoria GP Training. Chris is originally from the UK, having trained as a doctor in London, and moved to Melbourne in 2011 after completing his GP training. Away from work Chris loves spending time with his wife and kids as well as doing many activities such as jogging, cycling, bushwalking, swimming, socialising and travelling. Chris is also an avid fan of Leicester City Football Club.
morning yoga healthmint

8 Benefits of Exercise

By Body Systems, Chronic Disease, Chronic Pain, Diabetes, General Wellbeing, Lifestyle, Men's Health, Mental Health, Women's Health No Comments

Living a healthy lifestyle can be beneficial to your health, prevent some illnesses and diseases and can help to improve your mental health! Here we look into 8 benefits of exercise. 

1. Exercise boosts and benefits your mood

One of the most common mental benefits of exercise is stress relief. Exercise helps to block negative thoughts and distracts from daily worries and stresses. It  only releases the levels of, but also increases the levels of chemicals like serotonin and endorphins that can moderate responses to stress. It’s a win win!

benefits of exercise improve mood healthmint 2. Exercise assists in weight loss and helps prevent unhealthy weight gain

Exercise is extremely helpful in the journey of weight loss and weight management. Exercise speeds up metabolism, and increased activity levels increases the body’s fuel consumption (calories).

Regular physical activity combined with a healthy diet will increase the chances of weight loss.

8 benefits of exercise control weight loss healthmint3. Exercise reduces the risk of and helps to manage cardiovascular disease, reduce risk of heart attack, lower blood cholesterol, lower blood pressure

Regular physical activity can greatly reduce the risk of developing high blood pressure and can actually also help to lower blood pressure! Lowering the levels of cholesterol and keeping your arteries clear of fatty deposits by undertaking regular exercise can reduce the chances of heart attacks and strokes.

8 benefits of exercise cardiovascular health heart healthmint4. Social interaction and exercise go hand-in-hand

Find an exercise buddy – grab a friend or family member and hit the pavement. Let’s face it, exercise is more fun with someone and it works both ways to motivate each other and keeps each other’s exercise goals in check.

8 benefits of exercise socialising healthmint5. Build strong muscles and bones

Exercise that involves weight bearing like walking, stair climbing, weightlifting helps to preserve bone mass which can help protect against osteoporosis. Exercise also builds and strengthens muscles which in turn protects the bones from injury and support and protect the jones that might be susceptible to or affected by arthritis. It also improves the blood supply to muscles and can help prevent age related loss of muscle mass.

8 benefits of exercise strong kids dad family healthmint

6. Reduce the risk and help manage Type 2 Diabetes

For those with Type 2 Diabetes, physical exercise is a critical party of the treatment plan. Exercise can reduce the glucose in your blood! It helps with keeping blood glucose levels in check and in the correct range. Controlling blood glucose levels is essential in combating long term complications such as heart problems.

7. Exercise helps with sleep quality and benefits energy levels

When you exercise, your body naturally depletes its energy stores which helps when trying to fall asleep. When exercising, you may have longer, deeper and greater quality sleeps which helps make you feel more energised throughout the day. Around 30 minutes of exercise is all it can take for a better nights sleep and more energised days!

8 benefits of exercise boost mood aid sleep healthmint8. Lower the risk of falls with exercise

Exercise is a proven way to prevent falls by improving balance and strengthening the muscles that keep us upright.  As we get older, a fear of falling may limit the decision to want to undertake exercise – but this can have a damaging affect and actually increase the risks of developing chronic diseases and the probability of falls.

Of course, there are many more reasons other than these 8 benefits of exercise to consider. Being regularly physically active will always have positive effects on your mind, body and soul, it’s just about finding the types of exercise that suits you and your lifestyle, setting small, achievable goals to start off with, and building up the process of becoming a healthier, happier YOU!

Before undergoing any new types of exercise make sure you have a medical check from your HealthMint GP. You can even get a FREE* Health Check Up (valued at $159) to get you started on your journey to great health and on your way to your fitness and exercise goals.

display of healthy foods diet healthmint

Food and Diet For Symptoms of Depression

By Chronic Disease, Diabetes, Mental Health, Nutrition No Comments

Food and diet changes that help with symptoms of depression

As well as aiding in weight loss, food and diet changes can also have a positive impact on the symptoms of depression.

Depression is one of the most prevalent mental health illnesses throughout the world.

A study published in Psychosomatic Medicine showed that those who change their diet may see a greater improvement in the symptoms of anxiety and depression.

Foods that put you in a good mood!

Various vitamins, fatty acids, minerals and fibre consumed as part of a healthy diet could also impact the brain and help to improve mood.

The following foods and nutrients may play a role in reducing the symptoms of depression:

  • Whole grains
  • Nuts
  • Seafoods
  • Oily fish
  • Fruits
  • Vegetables
display of healthy foods diet healthmint

Ditch the junk food!

While we have established that a healthy diet can help to improve mood, an unhealthy diet can have the opposite affect.

While it’s okay to have the occasional treat or overindulge sometimes, it’s the long term unhealthy diets that contain lots of foods that are very high in energy (calories) and low on nutrition. Here’s a list of foods to limit:

  • Fried foods
  • Butter
  • Salt
  • Sugary snacks and drinks
  • Take away foods
  • Processed foods and meats
  • White breads, cakes and pastries
donut unhealthy food diets

Don’t forget to exercise too!

It’s well documented that the inclusion of regular exercise into your routine can have a dramatic impact on your mental health. So while you’re eating better, move better too!

Taking small steps on your journey to good health doesn’t have to be daunting – begin with a walk around the block, and gradually increase as your fitness levels do. Exercise releases endorphins, which help keep you happy!

Small dietary changes can make a big difference in how you feel over time.

Not only can they help improve your mood, but they also keep you healthy for many other reasons!

eat more of what makes you happy

Book an appointment with Saabira here

saabira dietitian healthmint

Book an appointment with Dr Natasha here

Want more information?

Call (03) 5611 3365 to speak to a friendly patient concierge

or book an appointment here
toilet-urine-healthmint

4 Reasons Your Urine Might Smell

By Body Systems, Diabetes, General Wellbeing, Lifestyle No Comments

4 Reasons Your Urine Might Smell

One of the best ways to tell what’s going on inside your body is to pay attention to what’s on the way out. Your kidneys act as filters for your body, and urine is how the waste they remove leaves your body. Urine is mostly water, so the waste is usually what gives it any smell or colour.

Normal urine is clear to straw coloured, and generally should not have a strong smell. If your urine output significantly changes and you can’t think of an obvious reason why, it could be a sign of something going on in your body. Here are 4 common changes to urine and what they might mean.

 

1. Dehydration

If you are not consuming adequate liquid, your urine output will reduce and become more concentrated. That could lead to a darker colour and strong smell, getting more noticeable as the dehydration worsens. Simple dehydration can be managed at home by drinking more liquids, but if your dehydration doesn’t resolve quickly, if you have other symptoms like diarrhoea and especially if your urine becomes very dark, you should see your doctor.

2. Oral Intake

 

Sometimes food and medication can change the colour or odour of urine. Asparagus is a classic example – often after eating this vegetable, urine can take on a very distinct odour. If the change is due to a food source it should go away within a day or two. If the change is due to medication, the changes might stay for as long as you are taking the medicine. Some foods and medications can even turn your pee pinkish-red. Feel free to mention the change to your doctor if you are concerned.

3. Infection

 

A urinary tract infection, or UTI, could cause your urine to change in appearance and smell. The presence of bacteria could cause your urine to have a foul smell, as well as appearing cloudy or even bloody. These symptoms could go along with a burning sensation when you pee, and a frequent urge to urinate. UTIs are fairly common, and will need to be assessed and treated by your doctor.

4. Diabetes

 

When a person has high blood sugar, excess sugar is excreted through the urine – which can cause urine to have an unusually sweet smell. In more dangerous cases, a “fruity” smell could be an indication of ketoacidosis, a condition where the body produces toxic substances due to extremely high blood sugar. Undiagnosed or untreated diabetes and ketoacidosis are potentially life-threatening conditions and should be considered an emergency.

If you see any change in your pee and can’t immediately think of what caused it – a recent meal or a new medication – you might want to think about seeing a doctor. Changes that last longer than a day or two and are accompanied by other symptoms should be addressed by a doctor as soon as you can. Some additional symptoms that can go along with urine changes could be pain in your side or back, fever, significantly increased thirst, fatigue, vomiting, or discharge. Your doctor can easily refer you for a urine test to see what’s going on.

Want more information?

Call (03) 5611 3365 to speak to a friendly patient concierge

or book an appointment here

Eyes on Diabetes

By Chronic Disease, Diabetes

Eyes on Diabetes

Why Diabetes Screening is so Importantwhat-is-diabetes

 

The 2016 theme for world diabetes day is ‘Eyes on Diabetes’ which promotes screening and obtaining early diagnoses of Type 2 Diabetes. This is so important because a massive 1 in 2 adults with diabetes are undiagnosed!

In support of keeping an eye on diabetes, we wanted to explain the symptoms, risks and screening process to inform as many people as possible on just how simple it is to be screened for diabetes.

 

What actually is type 2 diabetes?

As we consume food, it goes through a process of being absorbed by the body. This involves the sugars being broken down and entering our blood stream. In order to combat the spike in blood sugar levels, the pancreas produces Insulin. Type 2 diabetes is where the pancreas either doesn’t produce enough insulin and/or the body’s cells do not respond to insulin effectively. This results in a prolonged increase of blood sugar levels, which is dangerous of allowed to continue for an extended period of time.

 

What are the symptoms?

Symptoms of diabetes are typically:

  • Excessive thirst
  • Weight loss
  • Frequent urination
  • Lack of energy
  • Blurred vision

 

Am I at risk of diabetes?

There are a number of factors that may put you at risk of diabetes – some of the ones to look out for are:

  • Weight
  • Inactivity
  • Family history
  • Polycystic ovarian syndrome
  • High blood pressure
  • Age

 

How can I check if I’m at risk of diabetes?

Getting screened for diabetes is the best thing to do if you believe you are at risk of diabetes. Your GP will be able to arrange screening for you, and arrange care if you are diagnosed with diabetes. Even if you don’t have diabetes, but do have some of the risk factors, your GP will be able to help you to improve your overall health and decrease your risk of developing diabetes.

 

What if I already have diabetes?

In order to prevent or delay complications, you will want to keep three things as close to normal as possible:

  1. Blood glucose levels
  2. Blood pressure
  3. Cholesterol levels

 

What can my GP do for me if I have diabetes?

Your GP will be able to help you monitor and stay on top of your condition, by preventing complications. They may prescribe certain medications and refer you to specialists and allied health professionals in order to monitor your feet, eyes and help you to lose weight.

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