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National Diabetes Week 14-20 July

 

What is diabetes?

Diabetes is a serious complex condition which can affect the entire body. Diabetes requires daily self care and if complications develop, diabetes can have a significant impact on quality of life and can reduce life expectancy. While there is currently no cure for diabetes, you can live an enjoyable life by learning about the condition and effectively managing it.

Three things you need to know about diabetes:

  • It is not one condition- there are three main types of diabetes: type 1type 2 and gestational diabetes
  • All types of diabetes are complex and require daily care and management
  • Diabetes does not discriminate, anyone can develop diabetes

Diabetes is serious

Diabetes can be managed well but the potential complications are the same for type 1 and type 2 diabetes including heart attack, stroke, kidney disease, limb amputation, depression, anxiety and blindness.

We know diabetes:

  • Is the leading cause of blindness in working age adults
  • Is a leading cause of kidney failure and dialysis
  • Increases the risk of heart attacks and stroke by up to four times
  • Is a major cause of limb amputations
  • Affects mental health as well as physical health. Depression, anxiety and distress occur in more than 30% of all people with diabetes

Early diagnosis, optimal treatment and effective ongoing support and management reduce the risk of diabetes-related complications.

Facts about diabetes

  • 280 Australians develop diabetes every day. That’s one person every five minutes
  • It is the fastest growing chronic condition in Australia
  • More than 100,000 Australians have developed diabetes in the past year
  • For every person diagnosed with diabetes there is usually a family member or carer who also ‘lives with diabetes’ every day in a support role. This means that an estimated 2.4 million Australians are affected by diabetes every day
  • In 2013, diabetes caused 5.1 million deaths globally.

Symptoms

In type 1 diabetes, symptoms are often sudden and can be life-threatening; therefore it is usually diagnosed quite quickly. In type 2 diabetes, many people have no symptoms at all, while other signs can go unnoticed being seen as part of ‘getting older’.

Therefore, by the time symptoms are noticed, complications of diabetes may already be present.

Common symptoms include:

  • Being more thirsty than usual
  • Passing more urine
  • Feeling tired and lethargic
  • Always feeling hungry
  • Having cuts that heal slowly
  • Itching, skin infections
  • Blurred vision
  • Unexplained weight loss (type 1)
  • Gradually putting on weight (type 2)
  • Mood swings
  • Headaches
  • Feeling dizzy
  • Leg cramps

Prevention

There are different types of diabetes; the three most common types of diabetes are type 1, type 2 and gestational diabetes. Strong international evidence shows diabetes prevention programs can help prevent type 2 diabetes in up to 58 per cent of cases. You can do a lot to reduce your risk of type 2 diabetes, read our tips below.

Type 1

Currently type 1 diabetes cannot be prevented. However, researchers are looking into the autoimmune process and environmental factors that lead people to developing type 1 diabetes to help prevent type 1 diabetes in the future.

Type 2

Evidence, including large-scale randomised control trials, shows type 2 diabetes can be prevented or delayed in up to 58 per cent of cases by maintaining a healthy weight, being physically active and following a healthy eating plan.

People at risk of type 2 diabetes can delay and even prevent the condition by:

  • Maintaining a healthy weight
  • Regular physical activity
  • Making healthy food choices
  • Managing blood pressure
  • Managing cholesterol levels
  • Not smoking.

Managing your diabetes

How diabetes is managed is dependent on the type of diabetes and each individual. It’s important to regularly consult your health care team.

For all types of diabetes, keeping blood glucose levels in a healthy range will help prevent both short-term and long-term complications.

Learn more about how to manage:

Diabetes and Daily Life
As a person with diabetes you are no different from any other person living in Australia. Living with diabetes does not change your basic needs, wants and desires. It will make some aspects of life more challenging, but it doesn’t define who you are or prevent you from enjoying and participating in life.

It is important to remember however that during the course of your life, when you are at work or if you are travelling or driving, there are a number of things you need to consider.

Learn more about:

For information about the diabetes programs and services available in your area, contact your local state or territory organisation.

Click here for more information from Diabetes Australia.