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Quick Facts about Diabetes

Quick Facts about Diabetes

Diabetes or diabetes mellitus is a condition where the body is unable to break down sugar (glucose) in the blood. It occurs when the body does not produce enough insulin or when we cannot use the insulin made by the pancreas properly.  This leads to an increase in blood glucose levels and diabetes.

There are Three Different Types of Diabetes:

Type 1 Diabetes:

This type occurs when the pancreas is unable to produce insulin, typically due to death of the beta cells in the pancreas from an autoimmune reaction. Type 1 Diabetes is usually diagnosed in children and adolescents. This can cause people to have too much glucose in the blood or hyperglycaemia. Approximately 10% of people with diabetes have Type 1 diabetes.

Type 2 Diabetes:

This type occurs when the pancreas does not produce enough insulin or when the body does not effectively use the insulin produced. Type 2 Diabetes usually develops in adulthood, although levels are increasing in children due to obesity, which is a risk factor for diabetes. Approximately 90% of people with diabetes have Type 2 diabetes.

Gestational Diabetes:

Gestational Diabetes is a temporary condition that occurs during pregnancy. This type may increase future risk of developing diabetes for both the mother and child.

Some Common Symptoms of Diabetes include: Frequent urination, frequent thirst, unexplained weight loss, fatigue, blurred vision, weakness, increased hunger, headaches, skin infections, slow healing, and numbness in feet.

There are Many Risk Factors for Developing Diabetes:

  • Family history of diabetes (having a parent or sibling with diabetes)

  • Ethnicity (incidence of diabetes is higher in Aboriginal, Hispanic, Asian, South Asian or African descent)

  • Have been diagnosed with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, Acanthosis Nigricans (darkened patches of skin), or Schizophrenia

  • Had gestational diabetes
  • Given birth to a baby that weighed >4 kg (9lb)
  • Being overweight or obese (especially if you carry most of your weight around your middle)

  • Having an unbalanced diet high in fat, refined and processed foods

  • Living a sedentary lifestyle

  • High blood pressure

  • High cholesterol or other fats in the blood

  • Smoking

Good Nutrition and Diabetes

It is vital that people with diabetes have good nutrition and good meal planning. Your body needs fuel in the form of glucose. Glucose comes from foods such as fruit, milk, some vegetables, starchy foods and sugar. To control your blood glucose you will need to eat healthy foods, be active and you may need to take certain medication and/or insulin.  Controlling intake of saturated and trans fat is also important. Obesity is a major risk factor for diabetes, so controlling and maintaining a healthy weight is vital for diabetes control.

Some tips include: Have small regular meals and snacks evenly throughout the day, limit sugars and sweets and high fat foods, eat more high fibre foods (whole grains, different coloured vegetables), choose water more often when thirsty, and exercise regularly.