It’s that time of year where we all become very festive and indulge in celebrations, and Christmas activities. We all treat ourselves to food and drinks that we wouldn’t eat regularly during other times of the year. For some of us overindulging in food and drinks can have serious health consequences. Diabetes is a serious and complex condition which can affect the entire body. While there is no cure for diabetes you can live an enjoyable life by learning about the condition and how to effectively manage it.
There are three main types of diabetes:
- Type 1
- Type 2
- Gestational diabetes
When someone has diabetes, their body can’t maintain healthy levels of glucose in the blood. Unhealthy levels of glucose in the blood can lead to long-term and short-term health complications. Our bodies convert glucose (sugar) from food into energy. The hormone called insulin is essential for converting glucose into energy. Those with diabetes no longer or do not produce enough insulin in sufficient amounts. Their bodies cannot covert the glucose in foods like bread, starchy vegetable, milk and so on into energy. Instead of being converted into energy the glucose stays in the blood and is carried around the body.
Diabetes can be managed but there is potential for health complications including heart attack, stroke, kidney disease, limb amputation, depression anxiety, and blindness. Early diagnosis, optimal treatment, and effective ongoing support, and management reduces the risk of diabetes-related health complications.
Type 2 diabetes is increasing at the fastest rate of the three types. It is estimated that two million Australians are at high risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes is one of the major consequences of obesity. The combination of changes of diet, the food supply chain and, massive changes to physical activity are the main offenders in the increase of type 2 diabetes in Australians. Genetics also plays a part. Those of certain nationalities are at a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes – Chinese, South Asian, Indian, Pacific Islander, Aboriginal, and Torres Strait Islander.
Type 1 diabetes symptoms are often sudden. They can be life-threating therefore it can be diagnosed quickly. Type 2 diabetes can show no symptoms or have signs that can go unnoticed and be seen as a part of ‘getting older’.
Common symptoms include:
- Being more thirsty than usual
- Passing more urine
- Feeling tired and lethargic
- Always feeling hungry
- Cuts healing slowly
- Itching, skin infections
- Blurred vision
- Unexplained weight loss (type 1)
- Gradually putting on weight (type 2)
- Mood swings
- Feeling dizzy
- Leg cramps
Did you know? Diabetes is the leading cause of blindness in working age adults.