More than 5 per cent of Australians are diagnosed with diabetes and numbers are expected to increase.
The home doctor team at House Call Doctor have put together a go-to guide so you’re able to recognise the symptoms of diabetes early.
What is diabetes?
Diabetes is a disease caused by high levels of glucose in the blood. Glucose levels are controlled by a hormone produced by the pancreas called insulin. When the pancreas is unable to produce enough insulin or the body becomes resistant to it, diabetes occurs.
Type 1 diabetes is typically found in children and young adults when the body is unable to produce insulin, while type 2 diabetes can be caused by lifestyle risk factors and family history, typically in people over 40.
Another type of diabetes is gestational, which occurs during pregnancy and normally disappears after childbirth, but it can increase a woman’s risk of type 2 diabetes later in life.
What are the symptoms?
People diagnosed with diabetes often experience particular symptoms including:
- Thirst and hunger
- Frequent urination
- Weight loss
- Blurred vision
- Slow-healing wounds
- Regular skin infections
- Unexplained fatigue.
How is diabetes treated?
Once diagnosed, people with diabetes will learn how to monitor their own blood glucose and will have regular check-ups with a specialist twice a year. This allows eating and exercise plans to be monitored and changed if necessary.
Although some people with type 2 diabetes may not need a particular treatment, those with type 1 diabetes require regular insulin injections.
Is diabetes preventable?
Type 1 and gestational diabetes are unfortunately not preventable, but there are steps to help reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes. As two of the key risk factors that cause type 2 diabetes are obesity and high cholesterol, changes to diet and regular exercise are effective prevention methods.