All About Diabetes
Diabetes Mellitus is present when there is too much glucose in  the blood. Insulin is a hormone that lowers glucose levels in the  blood. Glucose (a form of sugar) is the main source of fuel for  our bodies.

It comes from foods containing carbohydrate. Diabetes Mellitus develops when the pancreas (the organ responsible for  producing  insulin) is either unable to make insulin, or the insulin  is unable to  work effectively or both. Without insulin doing its  job, glucose  builds up in the blood leading to high blood glucose  levels causing  health problems.

There are two main types of diabetes :

Type 1
This type of diabetes used to be called Insulin Dependent  Diabetes Mellitus or Juvenile Onset Diabetes. It usually  occurs  in  people under 30 years, but can occur at any age. Type 1  diabetes affects approximately 5 per cent of people with  diabetes.

In Type 1 diabetes, the pancreas produces no insulin because  the cells which make insulin have been destroyed by the immune  system. Therefore people with type 1 diabetes require insulin  injections to control their blood glucose levels.

Type 2
This type of diabetes used to be called Non-Insulin Dependent  Diabetes Mellitus or Maturity Onset Diabetes. It usually  occurs  in people who are over the age of 40 years and have a  family  history of diabetes; people are often overweight and  inactive,  although there are some exceptions.

Type 2 diabetes affects approximately 95 per cent of people  with diabetes. Being overweight makes insulin less efficient at  controlling blood glucose levels. This is often referred to as  insulin resistance.

Type 2 diabetes often responds to a healthy eating plan,  appropriate exercise and weight reduction; but sometimes  tablets and then later, insulin may be required.

People most at risk of developing type 2 diabetes often have  the following risk factors :

  • Are of Chinese, Indian or Pacific Islander heritage and over 35
  • Have high blood pressure
  • Have heart disease
  • Have a family history of diabetes
  • Are overweight
  • Are of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander heritage and are over 35
  • Are over 55 years of age
  • Have had diabetes in pregnancy.

What are the key signs and symptoms of diabetes?

  • Increased thirst
  • Slow healing of cuts
  • Frequent urination
  • Itching, skin infections
  • Feeling tired and lethargic
  • Blurred vision
  • Unexplained weight loss (for people with type 1)

How is diabetes managed?

  • Education - finding out as much as you need to know to take responsibility for your health
  • Healthy eating
  • Regular physical activity
  • Medication - tablets and/or insulin injections
  • Regular health checks with various members of the diabetes team
  • Maintaining a positive mental attitude
  • Home monitoring of blood glucose levels

What are the aims of treatment?

To keep blood glucose levels as close to normal as possible  (fasting blood sugar from 80 to 120 mg% & PP Blood Sugar from  120 to 160mg%). This will help prevent the short term effects  of  high and low blood glucose levels and long term  complications  which can affect the eyes, kidneys and/or  nerves.

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