What is diabetes?

Diabetes is a chronic condition in which the body does not process food properly for use as energy, resulting in high levels of glucose (sugar) in the blood. This is caused by the body not being able to produce insulin (a hormone made by the pancreas to control blood glucose levels) or to use insulin effectively, or both.

What are the types of diabetes?

There are several types of diabetes:

Type 1 diabetes occurs when the human body attacks the insulin producing cells in the pancreas. People who have Type 1 diabetes cannot produce insulin as their immune system breaks down the cells in the pancreas that produce insulin. This disease usually occurs in young children and young adults.

Type 2 diabetes occurs when the body’s cells do not respond effectively to insulin or lose the ability to produce insulin in the pancreas, resulting in glucose staying in the bloodstream. This leads to a higher-than-normal level of glucose in the body. It is primarily linked to lifestyle risk factors which include poor diet, lack of physical exercise and obesity.

Gestational diabetes occurs when a woman experiences high blood glucose levels during pregnancy, usually around the 24th to 28th week of pregnancy. Most women will no longer have diabetes after the baby is born. However, some women will continue to have high glucose levels after delivery. Gestational diabetes is the fastest growing type of diabetes in Australia. Women who have risk factors for gestational diabetes should be tested earlier in their pregnancy.

Pre-diabetes is where the blood glucose levels are higher than usual, but not high enough for a diagnosis of diabetes.

What are the symptoms of diabetes?

Common symptoms of diabetes mainly include the following:

  • Eating and drinking more
  • Passing more urine
  • Feeling tired and lethargic
  • Blurred vision
  • Weight gain (type 2) weight loss (type 1)
  • Blurry vision
  • Numb or tingling hands or feet
  • Dry skin
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Mood swings

If you have a family history for diabetes or high-risk factors for diabetes, please speak to one of our general practitioners at Infinity Health.

What causes diabetes?

There are different possible causes of diabetes according to type:

Type 1 diabetes

Type 1 diabetes is an auto immune condition where your body’s immune system attacks the cells in your pancreas that produce insulin. The exact cause of this reaction is still unknown, but diet and lifestyle are not factors that determine who gets type 1 diabetes. Research suggests that both genetics and the environment may play a part. While having family history increases your risk, most people with type 1 diabetes have no family history of the condition.

Type 2 diabetes

Type 2 diabetes develops gradually over years as your body’s insulin becomes less effective at managing your blood’s glucose levels. As a result, your pancreas produces more and more insulin, and eventually the insulin producing cells wear out and become ineffective. Type 2 diabetes is a combination of low insulin and ineffective insulin.

The risk of getting type 2 diabetes increases with certain lifestyle factors:

  • a family history of diabetes
  • low levels of physical activity
  • poor diet
  • being obese or overweight
How is diabetes diagnosed?

Diabetes is normally diagnosed by a blood test from your doctor, which may include:

  • Fasting Glucose Test
  • Oral glucose tolerance test
  • Random glucose test
  • HbA1c Test

Speak to one of our general practitioners at Infinity Health if you are experiencing any common symptoms or need to ask any questions about the condition.

Can epilepsy be prevented?

The common way to avoid epilepsy is to take the medication needed and to avoid the triggers. These may include:

  • lack of sleep
  • missed or too much antiepileptic medication
  • physical and emotional stress
  • hormonal fluctuations
  • fever
  • allergies
  • menstruation
  • alcohol or drug use
  • flashing lights
  • caffeine
  • missing meals
  • stress
  • being ill or having an infection,
  • vomiting, diarrhea or constipation
  • severe changes in temperature