Diabetes is a condition where the body is unable to automatically regulate blood glucose levels.
Diabetes is on the increase, probably because people are living longer, getting fatter and leading increasingly inactive lifestyles.
Diabetes causes abnormally high glucose levels, circulatory problems, and nerve damage.
Diabetes cannot be cured, but it often can be managed with proper medical care, diet, and regular exercise.
Type 2 diabetes can cause serious health complications.
Even pre-diabetes can increase the chance of heart disease.
Symptoms of type 2 diabetes due to high blood sugar include:
- Increased thirst
- Increased hunger (especially after eating)
- Dry mouth
- Frequent urination
- Unexplained weight loss (even though you are eating and feel hungry)
- Fatigue (weak, tired feeling)
- Blurred vision
Unfortunately Type 2 diabetes is usually not diagnosed until after health complications have occurred.
In fact, about a third of all people who have type 2 diabetes do not know they have it.
Other symptoms of type 2 diabetes may include:
- Slow-healing sores or cuts
- Itching of the skin (usually around the vaginal or groin area)
- Frequent yeast infections
- Recent weight gain
- Velvety dark skin changes of the neck, armpit and groin, called acanthosisnigricans
- Numbness and tingling of the hands and feet
- Decreased vision
There are two main types of diabetes:
This type of diabetes used to be called Insulin Dependent Diabetes Mellitus or Juvenile Onset Diabetes.
Type 1 diabetes affects approximately 15 per cent of people with diabetes.
In Type 1 diabetes, the pancreas produces no insulin because the cells which make insulin have been destroyed by the immune system.
Therefore people with type 1 diabetes require insulin injections to control their blood glucose levels.
Type 2 diabetes affects approximately 85 per cent of people with diabetes.
Type 2 diabetes often responds to a healthy eating plan, appropriate exercise and weight reduction. However, sometimes tablets and subsequently, insulin may be required.
People most at risk of developing type 2 diabetes often have the following risk factors:
- Are of Chinese, Indian or Pacific Islander heritage and over 35
- Have high blood pressure
- Have heart disease
- Have a family history of diabetes
- Are overweight
- Are of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander heritage and are over 35
- Are over 55 years of age
- Have had diabetes in pregnancy.
Type 2 and gestational diabetes may be diagnosed using the oral glucose tolerance test.
Normal blood glucose levels are less than 110 mg/dL (milligrams per deciliter) and a level of 126 mg/dL or higher on two different blood tests indicates diabetes mellitus.
if you have diabetes you should wash your feet daily in warm water and inspect them regularly, using a mirror to check the bottom of your feet.