I’m going to start a little series off called Melissa…
Diabetes is something that is getting more and more prevalent in our communities. Unfortunately, new diagnoses of diabetes are increasing at an ever-increasing rate and it will soon be at epidemic status in New Zealand. For many people who go through a bariatric surgery journey diabetes may be the main reason why they have chosen weight loss surgery. Diabetes can affect anyone, it doesn’t discriminate but being morbidly obese and not doing much physical activity increases your risk for developing diabetes even further.
I was lucky to be invited to the launch of Diabetes NZ Diabetes Action Month and their MoveMeant challenge in central Auckland last week. Diabetes NZ are an organisation who support people living with Diabetes and this year for Diabetes Action Month they are developing the Take Control Toolkit, a collection of over 60 online resources targeted for people living with diabetes to help them improve the way they manage their condition and to help educate them with new ways to manage the necessary lifestyle changes.
Diabetes NZ teamed up with Fitbit and Pita Pit and supported a group of 12 people, 10 with type 2 diabetes, one with type 1 and one who is pre-diabetic and they tested out some of the resources on the group to see how the resources could influence lifestyle changes. The participants have all remarked how they have made changes to their and their families diets, have started moving more and being more aware of their activity and that they have become more informed about how they can control their diabetes.
You need to be a member of Diabetes NZ to access these resources and you can find out more about Diabetes NZ and Diabetes Action Month here. Diabetes is a serious illness and if it’s not managed well it can lead to a variety of complications like limb amputations and blindness. With such serious complications it can quickly impact on your quality of life and be very limiting stopping you doing the things you want to do. Diabetes NZ are working hard to help people living with diabetes manage it better so that they don’t end up with serious life limiting complications such as these.
Diabetes NZ have a risk calculator that you can find on their website here, and I answered the questions with my current lifestyle and habits in mind and got a score of 0-5 which is a lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes now. I then did it again but answered as if it was my pre-surgery 132kg self doing the quiz and I got a score of 6 or more which put me in the higher risk of diabetes category. I’m really glad to see that I have reduced my risk through losing weight and making physical activity a part of my everyday life.
My Diabetes NZ Risk Calculator results.
Diabetes and obesity can go hand in hand for some people and I was well aware before I had my gastric bypass that I was more at risk of developing it. In fact, when I was pregnant my midwife skipped the first glucose tolerance test and made me do the two-hour one straight away as she was pretty much convinced I would develop gestational diabetes. I was lucky not to but that assumption was there purely because of my weight.
Bariatric surgery, and in particular gastric bypass can be a very effective way of dealing with type 2 diabetes and I have heard many stories from people where their diabetes has completely resolved after gastric bypass surgery. The necessary lifestyle changes are obviously very helpful in this regard but research is being done into the biological processes that are affected because it can be so effective and in some cases is almost instant in resolving type 2 diabetes.
I managed to have my gastric bypass before I developed diabetes and other conditions that often accompany morbid obesity. This was a conscious decision because I wanted to take control of my health and weight before it started to really get out of hand. After hearing the stories told at the Diabetes Action Month launch I feel like I have dodged a bullet and I am so pleased to hear the great work Diabetes NZ are doing to try and help people living with diabetes improve their health and quality of life through a multifaceted approach of focusing on food and nutrition, physical activity and health and wellbeing.
Do you or someone you know live with diabetes? Do you feel like you have enough information and education about the condition to manage it properly? Let me know if you sign up to Diabetes NZ and use some of the new resources they are developing I’d love to know how you found it helpful.