Diabetes is the name given to a group of different conditions in which there is too much glucose in the blood. The pancreas either cannot make insulin or the insulin it does make is not enough and cannot w- properly. Without insulin doing its job, glucose builds up in the blood leading to high blood glucose levels which cause the health problems linked to diabetes.
There are two main types of diabetes.Type 1 diabetes is less common usually affecting children and young adults but it can occur at any age. Type 2 diabetes affects 90% of all people with diabetes. It usually occurs in adults but younger people and even children are now getting this lifestyle condition.
Type 2 diabetes accounts for 90% of all diabetes and can be affected by lifestyle choices. It usually occurs in adults but younger people and even children are now developing the condition.
People at risk of type 2 diabetes can delay and in some cases even prevent it by following a healthy lifestyle. This includes regular physical activity, making healthy food choices and achieving a healthier body weight, especially if they have been told that they have risk factors for diabetes.
Lifestyle choices can contribute to the development of type 2 diabetes. It is strongly associated with high blood pressure, abnormal blood fats and the classic ‘apple shape’ body where there is extra weight around the waist.
A lifelong condition like diabetes is best managed with the support of a diabetes care team. Other members include your GP, Credentialled Diabetes Educator, Accredited Practising Dietitian and Registered Podiatrist. Depending on your needs, the team may also include medical specialists, Accredited Exercise Physiologists and Counsellors.
They will be there to support you and with their guidance you will soon become confident about making day-to-day decisions for a fit and healthy life.
The National Diabetes Services Scheme (NDSS) is an initiative of the Australian Government administered with the assistance of Diabetes Australia.
The NDSS aims to enhance the capacity of people with diabetes to understand and self-manage their condition. Diabetes Australia also seeks to support people with diabetes by providing timely, reliable and affordable access to NDSS services.
Registration with NDSS is free and open to all Australians who are diagnosed with diabetes.
You are able to register if you:
- Live in Australia or are visiting from a country where Australia has reciprocal health care agreements on an applicable visa.
- Have been diagnosed with diabetes by a doctor, endocrinologist or credentialled diabetes educator and;
- Hold (or are eligible to hold) a Medicare or Department of Veterans’ Affairs card.
People with diabetes should follow the Australian Dietary Guidelines. Eating the recommended amount of food from the five food groups will provide you with the nutrients you need to be healthy and prevent chronic diseases such as obesity and heart disease.
To help manage your diabetes:
- Eat regular meals and spread them evenly throughout the day
- Eat a diet lower in fat, particularly saturated fat
- If you take insulin or diabetes tablets, you may need to have between meal snacks
- It is important to recognise that everyone’s needs are different. All people with diabetes should see an Accredited Practising Dietitian in conjunction with their diabetes team for individualised advice.
There is no simple answer to what causes type 2 diabetes. While eating sugar, for example, doesn’t cause diabetes, eating large amounts of sugar and other rich, fatty foods, can cause weight gain. Most people who develop diabetes are overweight. Scientists do not fully understand why obesity increases someone’s chances of developing diabetes, but they believe obesity is a major factor leading to type 2 diabetes. Current research should help explain why the disorder occurs and why obesity is such an important risk factor.
A major cause of diabetes is insulin resistance. Scientists are still searching for the causes of insulin resistance, but they have identified two possibilities. The first could be a defect in insulin receptors on cells. Like an appliance that needs to be plugged into an electrical outlet, insulin has to bind to a receptor to function. Several things can go wrong with receptors. There may not be enough receptors for insulin to bind to, or a defect in the receptors may prevent insulin from binding.
A second possible cause involves the process that occurs after insulin plugs into the receptor. Insulin may bind to the receptor, but the cells don’t read the signal to metabolize the sugar. Scientists are studying cells to see why this might happen