Currently 1.7 million Australians have been diagnosed with diabetes, and it is one of the fastest growing chronic diseases in the world. For those that have recently been diagnosed with Diabetes (Type 1 or Type 2), the thought of having to live with a chronic disease is daunting. However, with the right support and effective management and care, living with diabetes does not have to have a negative effect on your life.
Diabetes is where the body either fails to produce adequate levels of insulin, necessary for converting the glucose in the blood into energy, or the tissues are resistant to the insulin produced. There are three main types of diabetes: Type 1 Diabetes, Type 2 Diabetes and Gestational Diabetes.
Type 1 Diabetes
This is also referred to as juvenile onset or insulin dependent diabetes, as it usually presents in children, teenagers or young adults. In this form of diabetes, the immune system attacks and destroys the cells that produce insulin. Currently, those with type 1 diabetes are dependent on regular injection of insulin.
Type 2 Diabetes
This is also referred to as adult onset or non-insulin dependent diabetes. It occurs when the body is either unable to produce enough insulin to convert glucose into energy, or the body becomes unable to use the insulin produced in the correct manner. Type 2 is under diagnosed, as it usually has less dramatic symptoms. If left undiagnosed and untreated, however, it can cause serious health complications. As a result of society's attraction to high-sugar and processed foods, we are now seeing children who have had a highly "diabetogenic" diet being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. The good news is, if detected early, implementation of a healthy diet and regular exercise can halt the progression of insulin resistance to full blown diabetes.
This refers to diabetes that develops during pregnancy. While gestational diabetes generally disappear once the child is born, it must be monitored closely during the pregnancy due to complications for the baby. It is also a warning sign for the likelihood of the woman to later develop type 2 diabetes if action, such as changes to diet and exerices, are not taken.
How We Care
Working closely with your health professionals to manage your diabetes and maintain stable blood sugar levels will lessen its impact on your life. Your GP will regularly monitor the control achieved by diabetes medications as well as the impact the disease is having on your heart, eyes, kidneys and nervous system. Your GP may refer you to other allied health professionals such as dietitians, optometrists and podiatrists for regular reviews and ongoing management. Education is vital to the support of people with diabetes. If not taken seriously and allowed to progress, severe complications such as blood vessel disease, blindness and kidney failure can develop quite quickly.
We encourage and promote healthy eating and regular exercise for all our patients as this is the best way to avoid developing type 2 Diabetes.