Diabetes – Aboriginal health

by | Aboriginal Health, Diabetes

diabetes in aboriginal communities

Diabetes is a serious condition that leads to having too much glucose in your blood. The side effects can affect your heart, eyes, kidneys, and nerves. The main kinds of diabetes affecting our people are type 2 diabetes and gestational or pregnancy diabetes. There’s no cure for diabetes, but if you’re diagnosed with it, there are a lot of things you can do to control it, so you can live a strong and healthy life for you family and our Aboriginal communities.

Gestational diabetes or pregnancy diabetes usually goes away when the baby’s born. If you’ve had diabetes during pregnancy, then you and your baby have a higher chance of type 2 diabetes later in life. You’re at risk of diabetes during pregnancy if you’ve had it before, if someone in your family’s had it, or if you’re overweight or obese.

The treatment includes a healthy diet and regular exercise. You might need daily insulin injections until your baby’s born. Type 2 diabetes is the most common type of diabetes, and if someone in your family has diabetes, then you might be at risk too.

There are several things that increase your chances of diabetes. Some of these things you can’t change, and some of these things you can change. You can’t change whether someone in your family has diabetes, if you’re pregnant with diabetes, or if you’re getting older, but there are many ways to manage diabetes. You can change what you eat, how much you exercise, whether you smoke, if you’re overweight, have pancreatitis, or if you eat too much food that’s high in sugar and fat. If you’re strong and healthy in your mental health and spiritual health, then you can better manage your physical health and your diabetes.

So, how do you know if you or someone in your family might have diabetes? These are the signs to look out for, feeling thirsty, having leg cramps, blurry vision, going to the toilet more often, having sores that take a long time to heal, feeling angry or grumpy, having pins and needles, or feeling tired or weak.

Type 2 diabetes takes years to develop, and lots of people who have it, don’t show any signs yet. Unless you look for diabetes and do something about it, the first sign may be a serious complication like a heart attack.

Having diabetes can lead to serious problems like blindness, stroke, heart attack, kidney disease, limb amputation, depression and anxiety. So if you have any worries about diabetes, even if you don’t see any signs, yearn with your family and community, or go to your local Aboriginal Medical Service (AMS), yearn with a doctor, a nurse, or an health worker.

The test is simple. One of the tests is a finger prick test. It involves a prick to your finger with a small needle. Another test is a blood test where the health worker will take a blood test and get it tested. They might ask you not to eat for a period before this test, so that the test can work properly.

If you are diagnosed with diabetes, the doctor might suggest improving your diet, exercise, and probably some medicines. It’s a good idea to take the medicines exactly as the doctors suggest, so that you can be stronger and healthier for your families and your communities. Remember to take your medicine with you when you go away from home. Eating health is important for you and your family. Avoid eating foods that are bad for you, but also remember to maintain a healthy weight and be active. All these things help to control your blood sugar. If you’re not sure what food’s good for you and what food’s bad for you, talk to your health worker or doctor, or by going to your local Aboriginal Medical Service (AMS) or Aboriginal community group.

Physical activity is also really important whatever age are. Exercise is good for your heart and it helps keep your weight down. Exercise helps you be stronger in body and in spirit. But if you can’t play sport, think of other things you can do like going for walks, climbing, hiking, or if you’re driving, park a bit further away so you can get more walking into your day.

It’s also important not to smoke, or if you do, talk to your doctor or health worker about how to take steps to quit.

Because diabetes causes other health problems, make sure you have regular checkups, so your doctor can check your blood pressure, your kidneys, your eyes, your feet, skin, and teeth. If you think you could be at risk of diabetes, or someone in your family has it, talk to your doctor, because the sooner you take care of yourself, the better your chances of living a longer and stronger life for your families and communities.