People with diabetes cannot maintain healthy levels of glucose in their blood. They do not have or produce adequate insulin, the hormone that converts glucose in food into energy. Unhealthy levels of blood glucose build up, leading to health complications if not managed.
Diabetes affects physical health and may impact mental health. All 3 types of diabetes (type 1, type 2, gestational) require daily care and management.
Potential complications of diabetes are the same for type 1 and type 2 diabetes.
Diabetes is the leading cause of preventable blindness in Australia. People with diabetes are:
- 4 times more likely to have a heart attacks or stroke
- 3 times more likely to have kidney failure
- 15 times more likely to require amputation
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.
Symptoms may include:
- extreme thirst
- extreme tiredness
- weight fluctuation (rapid loss for Type 1, gradual gain for Type 2)
- frequent urination, particularly at night
See Diabetes Australia for information on diabetes types, how diabetes occurs, the condition’s impact, and recommended management.
Diabetes and Foot Health
People with diabetes face greater foot health risks. Diabetes may affect circulation, and cause infection and nerve damage. It may cause foot ulcers and even require amputation.
People with ‘high-risk feet’ should a podiatrist every 3-6 months. People with ‘low-risk’ feet should see a podiatrist annually.
Diabetes patients must check feet daily for changes, as some issues require immediate attention to minimise complications.