Diabetes

Diabetes

Speak to your doctor or pharmacist about your risk of diabetes and what you can do to prevent it

Fact #1

Type 2 diabetes can be delayed or prevented by healthy lifestyle choices

Fact #2

It is important to diagnose diabetes early to prevent complications

Fact #3

Around 1.7 million Australians have diabetes

  • About Diabetes About Diabetes

    About Diabetes

    People with diabetes cannot use or store glucose normally. When untreated, a person with diabetes has an abnormally high level of glucose in the blood.

    Having too much glucose in the blood damages blood vessels and increases the risk of heart disease, stroke and kidney disease. Diabetes also causes problems with eyes, nerves, and the immune system.

    Serious foot problems can occur due to a combination of poor circulation, nerve damage, slow healing and infections.

    Type 2 diabetes can be delayed or prevented by healthy lifestyle choices. It is important to diagnose diabetes early, to prevent complications.

  • Glucose, insulin and types of diabetes Glucose, insulin and types of diabetes

    Glucose, insulin and types of diabetes

    Glucose is the main source of energy for the cells in our bodies. We need a constant, steady amount of glucose in the blood. After meal, the body stores glucose in the muscles and liver. When the body needs energy between meals, glucose is released from these stores. The body’s use of glucose is controlled by insulin, an enzyme produced in the pancreas.

    Diabetes is a health condition that occurs when the pancreas does not produce enough insulin (type 1 diabetes), or when the body does not respond normally to insulin (type 2 diabetes).

    Symptoms of type 2 diabetes can be mild or unnoticeable, so check-ups are important to diagnose it in time to prevent complications.

    • Type 1 diabetes generally occurs in children and young people and develops quickly. It is a disease of the pancreas, and cannot be prevented.
    • Type 2 diabetes generally occurs from middle age and develops slowly. It can be delayed or prevented by healthy lifestyle choices.

     

    Gestational diabetes is a type of diabetes that develops during pregnancy. All pregnant women should be tested for diabetes at around 26–28 weeks.

  • How diabetes is diagnosed How diabetes is diagnosed

    How diabetes is diagnosed

    Doctors use blood tests to diagnose diabetes. A screening test is a test in people from the general population who do not already have diabetes or symptoms. A single screening test for diabetes can help identify people at risk, who need full testing. A screening test on its own cannot accurately diagnose diabetes.

  • Risk factors for type 2 diabetes Risk factors for type 2 diabetes

    Risk factors for type 2 diabetes

    • Middle age and older age
    • Being male
    • Being of Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islander, Pacific Islander or Maori descent
    • Born in Asia (including India), Middle East, North Africa or Southern Europe
    • Having a parent or sibling who has been diagnosed with diabetes
    • Having high blood glucose levels in the past, including during pregnancy or illness
    • High blood pressure
    • Smoking
    • Having a diet low in fruit and vegetables
    • Lack of exercise (less than 30 minutes of physical activity per day on 5 or more days per week)
    • Being overweight (e.g. waist measurement more than 88 cm for women or more than 102 cm for men) A risk calculator is available at www.health.gov.au/preventionoftype2diabetes
  • Risk factors for gestational (pregnancy) diabetes Risk factors for gestational (pregnancy) diabetes

    Risk factors for gestational (pregnancy) diabetes

    • Pregnancy when older than 30 years
    • Family history of type 2 diabetes
    • Overweight
    • Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander, Vietnamese, Chinese, Middle Eastern, Polynesian or Melanesian background
    • Gestational diabetes during previous pregnancies
  • How to prevent or delay diabetes How to prevent or delay diabetes

    How to prevent or delay diabetes

    • Talk to your doctor about whether you are at risk or if you need a blood glucose test.
    • Achieve and maintain a healthy body weight.
    • Be physically active.
    • Quit smoking.
    • Eat plenty of vegetables and high-fibre cereals.
    • Limit the amount of fats and oils you eat.
  • How diabetes is managed How diabetes is managed

    How diabetes is managed

    The aim of diabetes management is to keep blood glucose levels as close to normal as possible (4–6 mmol/L when fasting). Good blood glucose control can prevent short-term and long-term complications of diabetes. A healthy lifestyle is an important part of diabetes management.

     

    Type 1 diabetes is treated with insulin injections.

    Type 2 diabetes is usually managed with lifestyle changes and oral medicines. Some people need to use insulin injections.

     

    People with diabetes need to:

    • see their doctor regularly for check-ups
    • test their blood glucose levels regularly so that treatment can be adjusted correctly
    • take medicines exactly as prescribed, if advised by a doctor
    • care for their feet by visiting a podiatrist regularly, protecting their feet at all times, and checking their feet every day.
    • have an eye examination at least every 2 years.

     

    For more information on medicines for diabetes speak to your pharmacist or doctor.

  • Additional resources