Approximately 1.8 million Australians suffer from diabetes. That is around one Australian every 5 minutes.
What is Diabetes?
People with diabetes are unable to maintain healthy levels of glucose (a type of sugar) in the blood. Glucose is our main source of energy, however, it needs to transferred from the blood into our cells by insulin in order to be converted into energy that we can use. If a person is diabetic, they no longer produce insulin at all or in sufficient amounts. That means when they eat foods containing glucose it is not converted into energy inside our cells. Instead it remains in the blood and results in high blood glucose levels.
If left untreated, diabetes can lead to heart attacks, stroke, kidney disease, limb amputation, vision problems, depression and anxiety.
Types of Diabetes
The three most common types of diabetes include:
- Type 1: occurs most frequently in under 30 year old’s and where the pancreas does not make insulin. It is managed with insulin injections or pump.
- Type 2: 85-90% of known cases and usually develops in adulthood when the body becomes resistant to the usual effects of insulin. It is managed by regular exercise, healthy eating and weight reduction, along with medication and insulin if it progresses.
- Gestational: occurs during pregnancy and usually ends once the baby is born but can continue after birth. Occurs due to heightened hormones reducing the effects of insulin. Managed with lifestyle changes and/or medication or insulin.
Signs and Symptoms
Common symptoms of diabetes include:
- Excessive thirst
- Frequent urination
- Feeling tired and lethargic
- Increased hunger
- Slow healing time
- Blurred vision
- Weight changes: unexplained weight loss in type 1 or weight gain in type 2
- Mood swings
- Muscle cramps
Type 2 diabetic symptoms are often ignored as part of ageing, therefore it’s often diagnosed once severe complications have developed.
While there is currently no cure or prevention for type 1 diabetes there are some factors that can prevent or delay the onset of type 2 diabetes, such as:
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Regular exercise
- Healthy diet
- Managing blood pressure and cholesterol levels
- Avoid smoking
The theme this World Diabetes Day is access to care, education and action towards prevention.
Find more of our health tips here.
Book an appointment with us here or call us on 9651 5559.
Diabetes Australia. https://www.diabetesaustralia.com.au/about-diabetes/