Diabetes

Diabetes

What is it?

Diabetes is a chronic condition (long-term) where the body does not produce enough insulin, or it does not use the insulin it has effectively.

Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas that converts glucose (sugar) into energy from the food we eat, which is vital for growth.

So when individuals with Diabetes eat foods containing glucose (eg. bread, cereal, pasta, rice, fruit, legumes, starchy vegetables, dairy products and anything containing sugar), the glucose can not be converted into energy and it stays in the blood. This is why individuals with diabetes often have hyperglycaemia, or high blood glucose levels.

There are several different forms of Diabetes, they include;

  • Type 1 diabetes – pancreas produces no insulin.
  • Type 2 diabetes – pancreas doesn’t produce enough insulin, or ir does not work effectively.
  • Gestational diabetes – higher than normal blood glucose levels around the 24th to 28th week of pregnancy.

Causes/ Risk Factors

Type 1 Diabetes
The exact causes of type 1 diabetes are unknown, however it is known that there is a strong family link and that it has nothing to do with lifestyle (although maintaining a healthy lifestyle with type 1 diabetes is important).

Type 2 Diabetes
There are a number or risk factors for type 2 diabetes, including;
– family history of diabetes
– age (older than 55)
– overweight or obese
– high blood pressure
– Aboriginal Australian or Torres Strait Islander background
– Pacific Islander, Indian sub-continent or Chinese background
– women who have had gestational diabetes
– women with polycystic ovary syndrome

Gestational Diabetes

There are a number of risk factors for gestational diabetes, including;

  • Age (older than 30)
  • Family history of type 2 diabetes or gestational diabetes
  • Overweight or obese
  • Aboriginal Australian or Torres Strait Islander background
  • Pacific Islander, Indian sub-continent or Chinese background
  • Previously had gestational diabetes
  • Suffered from Polycystic Ovary Syndrome
  • Given birth to a large baby

Symptoms

  • Excessive thirst
  • Frequent urination
  • Tired and lethargic
  • Often feeling hungry
  • Infections and slow wound healing
  • Blurred vision and dizziness
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Mood swings
  • Headaches
  • Leg cramps

Diet & Lifestyle

Maintaining a healthy diet and lifestyle is crucial for managing diabetes. Certain medications, insulin and regular blood glucose monitoring may also be necessary so it is important to speak with your GP and an Accredited Practicing Dietitian to develop the best plan for you.

*Information sourced from www.diabetesaustralia.com.au

**Please note these are general recommendations only, and are not intended to replace the advice of your doctor, health practitioner or pharmacist. We highly recommend that you contact your preferred medical practitioner for further testing if symptoms persist.

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