This week is Australian National Diabetes Week
Every minute of every day, people with diabetes face decisions, thoughts, worries and fears about their diabetes and the future impact the condition may have on their health.
The daily burden of living with diabetes can be significant. It’s estimated that people with diabetes face up to 180 diabetes-related decisions every day. That’s more than 65,000 extra decisions a year.
Diabetes distress, anxiety, and burnout are real complications of diabetes.
What is diabetes?
Diabetes is a disease that occurs when your blood glucose, also called blood sugar, is too high.
Blood glucose is your main source of energy, and comes from the food you eat. Insulin, a hormone made by the pancreas, helps glucose from food get into your cells to be used for energy. Sometimes your body doesn’t make enough—or any—insulin, or doesn’t use insulin well. The glucose then stays in your blood and doesn’t reach your cells.
Over time, having too much glucose in your blood can cause health problems. Although diabetes has no cure, steps can be taken to manage diabetes and stay healthy.
Diabetes is a serious complex condition which can affect the entire body. It requires daily self-care and if complications develop, diabetes can have a significant impact on quality of life and can reduce life expectancy.
How does diabetes affect the body?
- People with diabetes are up to four times more likely to suffer heart attacks and strokes
- Diabetes is the leading cause of preventable blindness in Australia
- Kidney failure is three times more common in people with diabetes
- Amputations are 15 times more common in people with diabetes
- More than 30 per cent of people with diabetes experience depression, anxiety and distress
Early diagnosis, optimal treatment and effective ongoing support and management reduce the risk of diabetes-related complications
In type 1 diabetes, symptoms are often sudden and can be life-threatening; therefore, it is usually diagnosed quite quickly. In type 2 diabetes, many people have no symptoms at all, while other signs can go unnoticed being seen as part of ‘getting older’. By the time symptoms are noticed, complications of diabetes may already be present.
Common symptoms include:
- Being more thirsty than usual
- Passing more urine
- Feeling tired and lethargic
- Always feeling hungry
- Having cuts that heal slowly
- Itching, skin infections
- Blurred vision
- Unexplained weight loss (type 1)
- Gradually putting on weight (type 2)
- Mood swings
- Feeling dizzy
- Leg cramps
How can I check my risk?
Click on the link below ‘What’s my risk’ and answer the 11 short questions:
If you think that you may be at risk of diabetes, please contact your local GP or call the Diabetes Australia Helpline 1800 637 700