- Diabetes is Australia’s fastest growing chronic disease.
- 275 Australians develop diabetes every day.
- About 890,000 Australians are currently diagnosed with diabetes.
- For every person diagnosed, it is estimated that there is another who is not yet diagnosed; a total of about 1.7 million people.
- The total number of Australians with diabetes and pre-diabetes is estimated at 3.2 million.
- As the sixth leading cause of death in Australia, it is critical we take action. Up to 60% of cases of type 2 diabetes can be prevented.
Diabetes is a complex disease, which can affect the entire body. Community awareness of the difference between type 1 and type 2 diabetes is still surprisingly limited. As a community we need to foster a culture of shared understanding of what diabetes is and be part of the solution that turns the diabetes epidemic around.
In type 1 diabetes the pancreas, a large gland behind the stomach, stops making insulin. Without insulin, the body’s cells cannot turn glucose (sugar), into energy. Without insulin the body burns its own fats as a substitute. Unless treated with daily injections of insulin, people with type 1 diabetes accumulate dangerous chemical substances in their blood from the burning of fat. This can cause a condition known as ketoacidosis.This condition is potentially life threatening if not treated. To stay alive, people with type 1 diabetes depend on up to four insulin injections every day of their lives. They must test their blood glucose levels several times daily. The onset of type 1 diabetes typically occurs in people under 30 years, but can occur at any age. About 10-15% of all cases of diabetes are type 1.
Type 2 is the most common form of diabetes, affecting 85-90% of all people with diabetes. While it usually affects older adults, more and more younger people, even children, are getting type 2 diabetes. In type 2 diabetes, the pancreas makes some insulin but it is not produced in the amount your body needs and it does not work effectively. Type 2 diabetes results from a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Although there is a strong genetic predisposition, the risk is greatly increased when associated with lifestyle factors such as high blood pressure, overweight or obesity, insufficient physical activity, poor diet and the classic ‘apple shape’ body where extra weight is carried around the waist. Type 2 diabetes can often initially be managed with healthy eating and regular physical activity. However, over time most people with type 2 diabetes will also need tablets and many will also need insulin. It is important to note that this is just the natural progression of the disease, and taking tablets or insulin as soon as they are required can result in fewer complications in the long-term.
Diabetes Australia is the national body for diabetes in Australia, which works in partnership with diabetes health professionals and educators, researchers and health care providers to minimize the impact of diabetes on the Australian community.
For further information see their website “www.diabetesaustralia.com.au
Diabetes and Feet
People with diabetes are more prone to infection. They can also develop neuropathy (damaged nerves) or peripheral vascular disease (blocked arteries) of the legs and either can lead to foot ulceration. Infection and foot ulceration, alone or in combination, often lead to amputation. This happens to about 3000 people in Australia each year. Neuropathy and peripheral vascular disease can also cause distressing pain in the lower limbs.
How Diabetes affects your Feet eg poor circulation, neuropathy
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