Diabetes Awareness Week 2023

July 9, 2023

By Dr Berlinda Png

Diabetes is the seventh most common cause of death by disease in Australia.

Diabetes is a chronic condition marked by high levels of glucose (sugar) in the blood. It is caused by the inability to produce insulin (a hormone made by the pancreas to control blood glucose levels) or to use insulin effectively, or both. It affects about 1.9 million Australians.

The main types of diabetes are type 1 diabetes, type 2 diabetes, gestational diabetes.

Treatment aims to maintain healthy blood glucose levels to prevent both short- and long-term complications, such as cardiovascular disease, kidney disease, blindness and lower limb amputations.

Insulin replacement therapy is required by all people with type 1 diabetes, as well as by a proportion of people with other forms of diabetes if their condition worsens over time.

Common symptoms and signs of diabetes

If you have any of the following diabetes symptoms, see your doctor about getting your blood sugar tested:

  • Urinate a lot, often at night
  • Thirsty
  • Lose weight without trying
  • Blurry vision
  • Numb or tingling hands or feet
  • Tired
  • Sores that heal slowly
  • More infections than usual

Management of type 2 diabetes

To manage type 2 diabetes, your health professionals will help you to understand how to identify healthy eating choices that suit you and to add achievable activity goals into your routine.

Your doctor will assess if you need glucose-lowering medications and explain how they work.  They will let you know if you need insulin replacement at any stage. It is essential to know how to manage your diabetes around activity, study or work, stress, being sick, hormonal changes and during pregnancy.

Diabetes can be well controlled. Your GPs are here to help you.

For more information, speak to your GP or visit Diabetes Australia.