What is diabetes

About Diabetes

Diabetes mellitus, or simply diabetes, is a chronic disease that occurs when the pancreas is no longer able to make insulin, or when the body cannot make good use of the insulin it produces. Insulin is a hormone made by the pancreas, that acts like a key to let glucose from the food we eat pass from the bloodstream into the cells in the body to produce energy. All carbohydrate foods are broken down into glucose in the blood. Insulin helps glucose get into the cells.

Not being able to produce insulin or use it effectively leads to raised glucose levels in the blood (known as hyperglycaemia). Over the long-term high glucose levels are associated with damage to the body and failure of various organs and tissues. (courtesy of the International Diabetes Federation)

 415 million people live with diabetes worldwide and that is expected to rise to 642 million by 2040 642. Every 6 seconds someone dies from diabetes-related complications!

There are three main types of diabetes:

Type 1 diabetes

  • Is an autoimmune disease
  • the pancreas doesn't insulin which we need to let blood glucose into cells for energy
  • insulin-producing cells (beta cells) are destroyed by mistake
  • develops quickly requiring insulin injections for life and to survive
  • approximately 10% of people with diabetes have type 1
  • mostly occurs at a young age but can occur later in life
  • risk of serious complications later in life

Find out more about Type 1 Diabetes

Type 2 diabetes

  • occurs when the pancreas doesn't produce enough insulin or the body doesn't use it (insulin resistant)
  • is the most common form of diabetes with 85% of people living with diabetes having type 2
  • develops gradually over a longer period of time, sometimes going unnoticed
  • occurs more in families with type 2
  • lifestyle factors such as obesity and reduced activity trigger type 2 diabetes
  • complications like heart disease, kidney failure or blindness can occur

Find out more about Type 2 Diabetes

Gestational diabetes

  • is a temporary form of diabetes occurring during pregnancy
  • high blood glucose levels are detected during routine screening
  • the body is unable to produce enough insulin necessary during pregnancy
  • careful management and treatment is required during pregnancy
  • Approximately 5% of pregnant women develop diabetes
  • disappears following birth
  • both mother and baby are at risk of developing type 2 diabetes later in life

Warning signs of diabetes

Here is an infographic about the warning signs of diabetes

WDD-infographic-warning-signs-EN.pdf

Diabetes in Australia

  • more than 1.7 million Australians live with diabetes
  • another 500,000 people don't know they have type 2 diabetes
  • 280 Australians develop diabetes every day = 100,000 every year
  • diabetes is a major risk factor for heart disease, stroke, blindness, kidney failure and nerve damage
  • costs over $14billion per year to the Australian economy

WA diabetes statistics are available here and you can access world statistics here

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