Diabetes is a complex, serious, chronic (long-lasting) condition. It can have substantial effects on many parts of the body including the eyes, nerves, brain, kidneys, heart and limbs. These effects are largely the result of damage to blood vessels.
Diabetes is a very serious condition. A critical aspect of diabetes is that, although it cannot be cured, the complications and related health problems can be significantly reduced or prevented in the vast majority of people. Managing the condition requires support from a number of different health professionals
Diabetes requires daily self-management and personal responsibility including the optimal management of blood glucose levels, blood lipid levels, careful attention to diet, weight management, and regular physical activity.
Three main types of diabetes:
Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune condition in which the immune system is activated to destroy the cells in the pancreas, which produce insulin. It is not known what causes this autoimmune reaction. Type 1 diabetes is not linked to modifiable lifestyle factors and cannot be prevented. Type 1 diabetes can occur at any age though onset is commonly in children, adolescents and young adults. All people with type 1 diabetes need insulin therapy to survive.
Type 2 diabetes is a chronic condition in which the body becomes resistant to the normal effects of insulin and/or gradually loses the capacity to produce enough insulin in the pancreas. Type 2 diabetes is associated with modifiable lifestyle risk factors (overweight/obesity, unhealthy diet, physical inactivity, stress). Type 2 diabetes also runs in families. It commonly develops in adults, although it is becoming more common among children and young adults.
Gestational diabetes is a type of diabetes that occurs during pregnancy and affects 5-10% of pregnancies in Australia. This condition normally disappears after the baby is born, however both the mother and the baby have a higher chance of developing type 2 diabetes later in life.