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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    how can i tell if i have diabetes?

    I am continually tired and run down
  • Find a professional to answer your question

  • 1




    Carolien Koreneff

    Counsellor, Credentialled Diabetes Educator (CDE), Diabetes Educator, Psychotherapist, Registered Nurse

    Carolien Koreneff is a Somatic (body-oriented) psychotherapist, Health Coach, Counsellor as well as a Credentialed Diabetes Educator with over 20 years experience. She currently sees … View Profile

    Diabetes is a condition where the body cannot maintain normal blood glucose levels (BGLs). Insulin is a hormone that helps glucose move from the blood into the cells. When the body does not produce enough insulin, the blood glucose level rises.
    If this happens very rapidly, as is the case in type 1 diabetes, one would feel very thirsty, you will have very frequent urination and will lose weight as you will burn fat, rather than glucose, for energy.  However the energy obtained from burning fat is not the right kind of energy and hence you will feel fatigued.
    In type 2 dabetes things tend to progress much more gradually. The increase in blood glucose levels happens slowly, over months or even years. Because of this gradual rise in BGL the symptoms are not always as obvious and hence many people will get diagnosed through a blood test, rather than based on the symptoms.
    You mention that you are continually tired and run down. This can be related to high BGLs, but could of course have many other reasons. If you are concerned that you have diabetes it may be best to see your GP to organise a blood test.  A fasting blood glucose level could be enough to make the diagnosis, but sometimes the fasting levels are fine and the BGLs don't rise until after the meals. In this case you may need to get an oral glucose tolerance test. This is a test where they check your fasting BGL, then give you a sweet drink which contains 75 g glucose, after which your BGL will be checked again 1 and 2 hours later. Usually one needs 2 abnormal results before the diagnosis of diabetes is made, however if you have one abnormal result and are symptomatic that would also diagnose this disease. You can check out my website for more information about diabetes:
    Feel free to contact me should you require any further information.
    I hope you will soon feel energised and on top of things again.

  • Kirsty Woods

    Exercise Physiologist

    Hi I’m Kirsty Woods,I would like to use my experience, expertise and passion to help you reach your weight, energy and health goalsI have been … View Profile

    Some types of diabetes have no symptoms, and can go undiagnosed for a long time, but some common symptoms can include:
    Being more thirsty than usual
    Passing more urine
    Feeling tired and lethargic
    Slow-healing wounds
    Itching and skin infections, particularly around the genitals
    Blurred vision
    Nausea and vomiting
    Weight loss
    Mood swings.

    Read more:

  • Leah's mission is quite simply to help others take steps to walk their life journey. We have four primary 'parts' creating our life experiences. The … View Profile

    Feeling tired and run down is not fun, and can be distressing in itself.  I agree with Caroliene that it is definately worth checking if Diabetes is on the cards, particularly if you are carring a bit to much weight, have a sit down job, stressed, or just over the magic middle number of years.   Prevention is much better than cure, and if you are in the pre-diabetic, or are diagnosed with metabolic syndrome, the changes are the same, but it wil minimise the damage to your organs such as the kidney, eyes, nerves and self esteem.  

    Being tired and run down, could also be related to not enough sleep so sleep apneoa, insomnia and just not getting into a deep sleep could be contributing factors.  Consider the other possible factors of your lifestyle that may be creating this experience. 

    Food choices play a huge role in the way we feel.  Consider how much fruit and veg you eat, how much processed foods you buy and this includes bottled, packaged, take away and restaurant meals.  How much processed drinks - soft drinks, sports, coffee, tea, etc.  

    Have you had a recent high stress incident, or been ill?  This too places a burden on the body which can literally be felt for weeks or months after the event. 

    So, these are my suggestion to you….. Get a check up at your GP and ask for a diabetes check and full blood count.  Who knows you might just save years of your life. 
    Check in with the foods you eat - how much fresh compared to processed foods are you eating, and, are they best ones for you?
    What is your lifestyle - activity vs sitting for work and travel etc. 
    Stress, and anxiety that depletes without knowing it. 

    If your bloods come back clear, then that is peace of mind you can then move through eliminating the other possible reasons.  Speak with a trained APD dietitian, counsellor or exercise phys depending on the area of concern.  Look after you, as there is only one of you. :)

    If you want more detailed help, get in touch, otherwise, I send you on your way to a healthier you.
    Chow, Leah 

  • Stuart Donaldson

    Exercise Physiologist

    Accredited Exercise Physiologist with ESSA providing services to clients in the Hervey Bay region, including entitled DVA clients (Entitled Department of Veterans' Affairs clients may … View Profile

    There is a very simple answer to your question, and also a more complex one.
    Firstly - being tired and run down does not necessarily mean you have diabetes. It could be a number of factors, including, but not limited too, actually being tired and run down due to stress or lack of sleep or low iron levels.

    But, do you have diabetes?
    Simple answer:
    Diabetes is defined as a resting blood glucose (sugar) level >7mmol. Have a fasting glucose test with your doctor. <5.5mmol = normal; 5.5-6.9 - impaired glucose tolerance (pre-diabetes); >7mmol = diabetes.

    Complex answer:
    You get your blood test and it comes back:
    Normal: your fatigue is not diabetes related. Check with your doctor for more tests.

    Pre-diabetes: commence a regular exercise program (see an accredited exercise physiologist for a specific exercise program). See an accredited dietitan for a structure food plan. Both of these professionals will help prevent your condition developing into full-blown type 2 diabetes.

    Diabetes: as above re: exercise and diet. Unfortunately diabetes is a disease for life, so once you are diagnosed it is all about management and preventing the disease from progressing and getting worse. Diabetes has a whole host of co-complications such as eye, kidney and nerve problems (eg in feet). Being aware of your condition and self-managing is the key to success.

    Best of luck with your tests.

  • Arlene is a registered practising dietitian, with a private practice in the Eastern Suburbs of Sydney, and has built a strong business over the last … View Profile

    Firstly you must see your doctor if you have any suspicions that you might have diabetes.

    Early dtection and treatment of diabtes can decrease th isk of developing th complications and harmful effects of diabetes such as damage to the eyes, heart, blood vessels, nervous system, eeth and gums, fet and skin, or kdneys. Studies show thatkeeping blood glucose, blo pressure, and low density lpoprotein cholestero levels close to normal can help prevent or delay thse problems of diates.

    The following symtoms of diabetes ae typcal. However, some peple with Tye 2 diabetes have symptoms s mld that tey go unnoticed.
    Common sympts of diabetes:
    Urinating often
    Feeling very thirsty
    Feeling very hungry - even though you are eating
    Extreme fatigue
    Blurry vision
    Cuts/bruises that are slow to heal
    Weight loss - even though you are eating more(type 1)
    Tingling pain, or numbness in the hands/feet (type 2)

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