What exactly is Diabetes?
Diabetes is a chronic disease in which your body’s blood sugar levels are higher than normal. When we eat, foods containing proteins, fats and carbohydrates are broken down into easily absorbed components.
One of these is a form of simple sugar called glucose. Glucose circulates in the bloodstream, where it is available for cells to use for energy.
Diabetes occurs when your pancreas (found just behind the stomach) stops making enough insulin, a hormone that is necessary for your body to use glucose properly. Normally, the blood carries glucose throughout the body, causing blood glucose levels to rise. In response, the pancreas makes insulin and releases it into the bloodstream. Insulin signals the body tissues to metabolise or burn the glucose for fuel, causing blood glucose levels to return to normal.
People with diabetes do not make enough insulin or their body can’t use insulin effectively, so without treatment, blood glucose levels increase to abnormal levels. Over time, this can lead to serious health issues, such as heart disease, stroke, blindness, kidney failure, or loss of toes, feet or legs.
Types of Diabetes
- Type 1 diabetes — Type 1 diabetes is a lifelong disease in which the pancreas produces little to no insulin. Type 1 diabetes is not affected by lifestyle, and people with this type must take insulin. About 5% of people with diabetes have type 1.
- Type 2 diabetes — Type 2 diabetes is the most common type of diabetes. It occurs when the body doesn’t make enough insulin or can’t use its own insulin effectively. This causes glucose to build up in the blood. Type 2 diabetes is often caused by lifestyle factors, such as obesity or diet.
- Gestational diabetes — Gestational diabetes develops in pregnant women who did not have diabetes before becoming pregnant. Women with gestational diabetes usually need treatment during their pregnancy. In most cases, diabetes goes away after the baby’s birth.
Diabetes is a chronic disease that occurs when there is too much glucose in the blood because the body is not producing insulin or not using insulin properly.
Would you like to see if you are at risk of developing Type 2 diabetes? Find out with help from one of our pharmacists
No blood is required!
The Australian type 2 diabetes risk assessment tool (AUSDRISK) is a shortlist of questions. It helps both health professionals and individuals to assess the risk of a person developing type 2 diabetes over the next 5 years.
You can access the tool here, or come into the pharmacy and complete it with one of our pharmacists. Once you have the results, you can discuss what the result means to you with a pharmacist.
A Diabetes MedsCheck offers one-on-one time with your pharmacist, in the pharmacy, to review and discuss the best ways to manage your type 2 diabetes and get the most out of your medicines.
280 Australians develop diabetes every day.
That's one person every five minutes.