Did you know there are 1.5 million people in Australia living with diabetes, and the disease is becoming more prevalent? About 120,000 people are diagnosed each year, and it’s estimated about 400,000 Australians are currently at risk of diabetes. Type 2 diabetes can be prevented or delayed with some healthy habits adopted to your current lifestyle.
With National Diabetes Week running from the 9th – 16th of July we thought it’s a timely reminder to raise more awareness about the disease that affects so many Australians.
What is Diabetes?
Diabetes mellitus, or diabetes as it is known, is a health condition where there is too much sugar in the blood (hyperglycaemia) and the body has difficulty changing glucose into energy.
The hormone, insulin, normally controls blood glucose levels, but diabetes occurs when the pancreas isn’t producing enough insulin or when your body is resistant to insulin and therefore isn’t using it.
There are several types of diabetes. They are Type 1, Type 2, gestational diabetes (high glucose levels in pregnancy) and pre-diabetes when blood glucose levels are elevated but not high enough for an official diabetes diagnosis.
What are the signs and symptoms of diabetes?
Common diabetes symptoms are:
- feeling tired
- unexplained weight loss (Type 1), or gradual weight gain (Type 2)
- cuts that heal slowly
- itchy skin or skin infections
- blurred vision
- being very thirsty or hungry
- urinating more than usual.
Type 1 diabetes is often spotted faster as symptoms can appear quickly.
With Type 2 diabetes many people experience no symptoms, or they have signs that go unnoticed for a long time.
Type 1 Diabetes
Type 1 diabetes is an auto-immune condition. The body’s immune system attacks cells in the pancreas where insulin is produced. Research shows that genetics and the environment likely play a part in developing Type 1 diabetes, but the exact cause is unknown.
Type 2 Diabetes
Type 2 diabetes happens progressively over years once the body’s insulin starts to become less effective at managing glucose levels in the blood. The pancreas then produces more insulin and over time the body’s insulin is less effective at managing blood glucose.
The risk of getting Type 2 diabetes increases with certain factors such as: poor diet and exercise; having been pregnant or having had gestational diabetes in the past; high blood pressure; a family history of diabetes; and being overweight or obese.
Healthy lifestyle tips
A healthy diet is the key to managing diabetes, and it is good to seek the advice of a qualified health professional to help with this.
Other tips include:
- eating more wholefoods, as opposed to processed or packaged foods
- having regular meals throughout the day
- understanding carbohydrate foods and what type to eat
- having a diet low in fat (especially saturated fat).
We can help
Please make an appointment with your GP if you are experiencing symptoms of diabetes or have concerns about your risk. Early treatment helps reduce serious complications. Call Family Doctors Plus on 07 3357 8192.