Diabetes: What is it?

Diabetes (Diabetes Mellitus): What is it?

Diabetes is a major complex condition which can impact the whole body. Diabetes needs daily self care and if complications develop, diabetes can have a substantial impact on lifestyle and can lower life span. While there is currently no treatment for diabetes, you can live a satisfying life by learning more about the condition and successfully handling it.

There are various types of diabetes; all types are complicated and severe. The 3 primary types of diabetes are type 1, type 2 and gestational diabetes.

Diabetes mellitus (DM), commonly described as diabetes, is a group of metabolic conditions in which there are high blood sugar levels over an extended period. Symptoms of high blood sugar include frequent urination, increased thirst, and increased hunger. If left without treatment, diabetes can cause lots of complications. Intense complications can consist of diabetic ketoacidosis, hyperosmolar hyperglycemic state, or death. Major long-lasting complications include cardiovascular disease, stroke, chronic kidney disease, foot ulcers, and damage to the eyes.

How does diabetes impact the body?

When somebody has diabetes, their body cannot preserve healthy levels of glucose in the blood. Glucose is a type of sugar which is the main source of energy for our bodies. Unhealthy levels of glucose in the blood can lead to long term and short term health complications.

For our bodies to work appropriately we have to convert glucose (sugar) from food into energy. A hormone called insulin is essential for the conversion of glucose into energy. In people with diabetes, insulin is not produced or not produced in sufficient quantities by the body. When people with diabetes eat glucose, which remains in foods such as breads, cereals, fruit and starchy vegetables, vegetables, milk, yoghurt and sugary foods, it can’t be converted into energy.

Rather of being developed into energy the glucose remains in the blood resulting in high blood sugar levels. After consuming, the glucose is brought around your body in your blood. Your blood sugar level is called glycaemia. Blood glucose levels can be kept an eye on and managed through self care and treatment.

3 things you have to know about diabetes:

  • It is not one condition – there are 3 main types of diabetes: type 1, type 2 and gestational diabetes
  • All types of diabetes are intricate and require day-to-day care and management
  • Diabetes does not discriminate, anybody can develop diabetes

Diabetes is serious

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

We know diabetes:

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

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

Why is diabetes increasing?

All types of diabetes are increasing in occurrence:

  • Type 1 diabetes accounts for 10% of all diabetes and is increasing
  • Type 2 diabetes accounts for 85% of all diabetes and is increasing
  • Gestational diabetes in pregnancy is increasing

Type 2 diabetes is increasing at the fastest rate. There are great deals of individuals with quiet, undiagnosed type 2 diabetes which might be damaging their bodies. An approximated 2 million Australians are at high risk of developing type 2 diabetes and are currently revealing early signs of the condition.

Type 2 diabetes is one of the significant effects of the obesity epidemic. The mix of massive changes to diet and the food supply, integrated with huge changes to physical activity with more inactive work and less activity, implies most populations are seeing more type 2 diabetes.

Genes also play a part with higher risk of type 2 diabetes in Chinese, South Asian, Indian, Pacific Islander and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander populations.


In type 1 diabetes, symptoms are typically sudden and can be deadly; therefore it is generally identified quite quickly. In type 2 diabetes, lots of people have no symptoms at all, while other signs can go unnoticed being seen as part of ‘growing older’.

Therefore, by the time symptoms are observed, complications of diabetes may currently exist.

Common symptoms include:

Note: This info is of a general nature just and should not be replacemented for medical guidance or used to modify medical therapy. It does not change assessments with certified health care professionals to fulfill your private medical requirements.

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