WHAT IS DIABETES?
Diabetes is a chronic condition characterised by high levels of blood glucose which over a prolonged period, if left untreated, can lead to significant long term health problems.
The main types of diabetes are:
· Type 1 diabetes
· Type 2 diabetes
· Gestational diabetes
Diabetes, of any sort, is a chronic condition that requires extensive patient and health-care teamwork.
Type 1 Diabetes
· Has no known cure.
· Effects 10-15% of all people with diabetes.
· Is treated with insulin, usually 4 injections a day or with an insulin pump (also known as an artificial pancreas).
· Has a genetic link, meaning family members may also have Type 1 diabetes.
Type 1 diabetes is usually first diagnosed in children or young adults. It is not fully understood why this happens. Type 1 diabetes is termed autoimmune, meaning that the body’s immunity or ‘self-defence’ attacks the beta cells that produce insulin so glucose is unable to move out of the blood into the cells.
Type 1 diabetes is a life threatening condition which needs to be closely managed with daily care.
Type 2 Diabetes
· This is the fastest growing chronic condition in Australia
· Effects 80-85 % of all people with diabetes.
· Can be treated with lifestyle changes by increasing exercise and changing diet, taking oral medications (tablets) and /or injectable medications including insulin.
· Is associated with age, weight, inactivity and family history.
Type 2 diabetes is related to lifestyle risk factors and is usually diagnosed in adulthood. It is associated with insulin resistance meaning that insulin is produced by the pancreas but it does not work efficiently so some glucose moves into cells but the remainder stays in the blood. Type 2 diabetes is a ‘silent’ condition meaning that most people do not know they have it, so at diagnosis complications may already be present.
Regular reviews by your healthcare team including GP, diabetes educator, dietitian, exercise physiologist and podiatrist will assist with prevention of complications by helping to reduce blood glucose levels and improving your overall health.
This is a condition that occurs when your body’s insulin is not working well. It occurs when your Blood Glucose Level is not high enough for you to be diagnosed with type 2 diabetes – but higher than normal.
As Diabetes Australia notes, Lifestyle changes can help slow down the progression of pre-diabetes to type 2 diabetes.
· Only effects some pregnant women.
· Usually disappears after the baby is born.
· Can be treated by adopting a healthy eating pattern, regular physical activity and monitoring blood glucose levels.
Gestational diabetes is diagnosed during pregnancy when a woman's body cannot cope with the extra demand for insulin production resulting in high blood glucose levels.
Gestational diabetes is managed by monitoring blood glucose levels, adopting a healthy eating plan and performing regular physical activity. However, for some women with gestational diabetes, insulin injections will be necessary for the rest of the pregnancy (approximately 10 – 20%).
Women who have had gestational diabetes have an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes later in life and should be tested for diabetes at least every 2 – 3 years. Your healthcare team including your doctor, specialist, dietitian and Credential Diabetes Educator, can help you with blood glucose monitoring, healthy eating and physical activity.
For further information and quality resources, please visit Diabetes Queensland (https://www.diabetesqld.org.au/)