What is diabetes?
Diabetes is a serious and complex condition that can affect anyone at any age.
For our bodies to work properly, we need to convert glucose (sugar) from food into energy. This is done by an important hormone in the pancreas, called insulin.
In people with diabetes, insulin is either no longer produced or not produced in sufficient amounts by the body so that when glucose is consumed (through foods such as breads, cereals, fruit and starchy vegetables, legumes, milk, yoghurts and sweets) it can’t be converted into energy.
Did you know?
Type 1 diabetes is an auto-immune condition in which the immune system is activated to destroy the cells in the pancreas which produce insulin. It is one of the most common chronic childhood conditions and represents ~10% of all diabetes cases.
Type 2 diabetes is a progressive condition in which the body becomes resistant to the normal effects of insulin and/or gradually loses the capacity to produce enough insulin in the pancreas.
It represents 85-90% of all diabetes cases and usually develops in adults over the age of 45 years, but there is a growing trend in the development of Type 2 diabetes in younger age groups, largely due to lifestyle factors.
Hereditary factors also play a part and people with a family history of Type 2 diabetes are more likely to develop the disease. Those from particular ethnic groups, including those from an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander, Pacific Islander, Indian Subcontinent or Chinese background, are also more susceptible.
Often people with Type 2 Diabetes may not be aware they have the disease, and early symptoms may be associated with getting older or result from disease-related complications such as a heart attack, vision problems or foot ulcers. The common signs and symptoms to look out for are the same as those for Type 1 diabetes.
Diabetes WA provides a usual tool to help assess your risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes. You can take the risk assessment here - Diabetes: What's Your Risk?
There is no cure for Type 2 diabetes, however, the disease may be managed through lifestyle changes, including eating well, regular exercise and ongoing monitoring of blood glucose levels.In addition, diabetes medication and insulin injections may be required to help control the condition.
Gestational diabetes occurs during pregnancy and affects around 12-14% of pregnant women in Australia. The disease usually goes away once the baby is born.
Many women with gestational diabetes show no symptoms of the disease and it is often only diagnosed after the Glucose Tolerance Test (GTT) performed during the 24thto 28thweek of pregnancy.
Those at greater risk of developing Gestational diabetes include women:
Gestational diabetes is usually managed through healthy eating and regular exercise, however, medication and insulin injections may be required in some cases.
The early diagnosis, optimal treatment and effective ongoing support and management of diabetes are key to reducing the risk of any related complications and it is important to stay in regular contact with your GP to help you manage the disease.
To book in an appointment with one of our GPs to discuss any concerns you may have about diabetes, go to our Online Bookings page to make an online booking or contact us on (08) 9208 6400.
- Diabetes Australia - https://www.diabetesaustralia.com.au
- Diabetes WA - https://diabeteswa.com.au
- Healthy WA - http://healthywa.wa.gov.au/Health-conditions/Diabetes
- Department of Health, WA – http://www.diabetes.health.wa.gov.au/home/