Diabetes is a chronic condition where the body struggles to manage blood sugar levels properly. This can be caused by issues with insulin production, the body’s ability to use insulin effectively, or both. Diabetes can have dire consequences on various organs and systems within the body. It is important to identify the symptoms early to mitigate the damage done due to diabetes. Regular monitoring of blood sugar levels is crucial for managing diabetes and preventing complications. Diabetes is the fastest growing chronic condition in Australia with more than 300 new diabetes cases being diagnosed every day. Almost 1.9 million Australians live with known diabetes and two million Australians are at risk of developing diabetes soon according to the Diabetes Australia and it is the seventh most common cause of death by disease in Australia.

Types of Diabetes

It is important to understand which type of diabetes a person is attacked with to reduce the damage done due to diabetes on other organs and its management.
  • Type 1 Diabetes: This type of diabetes occurs when the body’s immune system mistakenly destroys insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreas and stops the natural production of insulin.   It typically requires insulin therapy for management, usually through injections or an insulin pump for the rest of their lives.
  • Type 2 Diabetes: It is a more common type of Diabetes, which is linked to insulin resistance, where the body’s cells do not respond effectively to insulin. Genetics, lifestyle factors, and obesity contribute to its development. This can occur in any age group. Lifestyle changes, oral medications, and in some cases, insulin therapy is required for the management of Type 2 diabetes.
  • Gestational Diabetes:  It develops during pregnancy when the body cannot produce enough insulin to meet the increased needs, leading to elevated blood sugar levels. This can lead to problems with the pregnancy such as preterm birth, polyhydramnios (excessive build-up of amniotic fluid surrounding the baby), large birth weight (resulting in increased risk of birth complications such as shoulder dystocia, where the baby’s shoulder gets stuck, or the need for a caesarean delivery.

What causes Diabetes?

There are several factors that might cause diabetes influenced by genetic, lifestyle and environmental factors. The main causes include but are not limited to:
  1. Genetics: A family history of diabetes can increase the risk.
  2. Lifestyle Factors: Sedentary lifestyle, poor dietary habits, and obesity contribute to Type 2 diabetes.
  3. Age and Sex: The risk of diabetes increases with age. Males in general are more at risk of diabetes. 
  4. Viral infections: Certain viral infections are believed to sometimes trigger Type 1 Diabetes as a result of causing an autoimmune response where the body’s own immune system fights against and destroys the pancreatic insulin-producing beta cells. 
  5. Ethnicity: Certain ethnic groups are more prone to diabetes.
  6. Gestational Factors: Women who experienced gestational diabetes are at a higher risk.

What are the symptoms of Diabetes?

Symptoms may vary between Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes. Common symptoms of diabetes include:
  • Frequent urination
  • Increased thirst and hunger
  • Unexplained weight loss or gain
  • Fatigue
  • Blurred vision
  • Slow wound healing
  • Frequent Infections
It’s important to note that these symptoms may not always be obvious, and some people with diabetes may not experience all of them, so it is important to consult your General Practitioner if you are concerned.
When untreated or poorly managed, diabetes can lead to severe complications, including:
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Kidney damage (nephropathy)
  • Nerve damage causing pain or numbness (neuropathy)
  • Eye problems and vision loss (retinopathy)
  • Foot problems, including infections and amputations
  • High Blood Pressure
  • Skin Complications 
  • Low immunity

Management of Diabetes:

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This content is created for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the guidance of your doctor or other qualified health professional with any questions you may have regarding your health or a medical condition. For emergencies please immediately contact 000.