What Is Diabetes?
Diabetes is a group of conditions that are characterised by an inability to maintain a healthy blood glucose level. Blood glucose levels are controlled by a hormone called insulin, which is produced in the pancreas. When we eat and drink, glucose enters our blood stream and insulin acts by removing glucose from the blood and moving it into our body’s cells to help provide energy. A person with diabetes is unable to either produce enough insulin or the insulin produced is unable to work properly. If blood glucose levels are regularly at high levels it can lead to numerous health problems that are linked to diabetes. These include: increased risk of cardiovascular disease, liver disease, eyesight problems and peripheral neuropathy.
It is currently estimated that up to 1.7million Australians have diabetes with up to 500,000 being undiagnosed (Diabetes Australia).
Are there different types of Diabetes?
Yes, there are three different types of Diabetes.
- Type 1 Diabetes is an auto-immune condition in which the immune system is activated to destroy the cells in the pancreas which produce insulin. We do not know what causes this auto-immune reaction. Type 1 diabetes is not linked to modifiable lifestyle factors. There is no cure and it cannot be prevented (Diabetes Australia).
- Type 2 Diabetes is a mostly preventable condition that is often developed due to a number of lifestyle factors such as: poor diet, sedentary behavior, smoking and high alcohol consumption. Type 2 diabetes is believed to account for up to 85% of all diabetes diagnosis.
- Gestational Diabetes which can occur for women during pregnancy.
How serious is Diabetes?
Diabetes Australia states that the known facts about Diabetes are that it:
- Is the leading cause of blindness in working age adults
- Is a leading cause of kidney failure and dialysis
- Increases the risk of heart attacks and stroke by up to four times
- Is a major cause of limb amputations
- Affects mental health as well as physical health. Depression, anxiety and distress occur in more than 30% of all people with diabetes
- Early diagnosis, optimal treatment and effective ongoing support and management reduce the risk of diabetes-related complications.
What are the symptoms?
Type 1 Diabetes symptoms can be life threatening and are usually diagnosed by your doctor quickly. In type 2 Diabetes the symptoms are wide and varied can sometimes go unnoticed. It’s important that if you feel changes in your body or recognise some of the symptoms below that you seek advice from your doctor.
Diabetes Australia states that common symptoms of Diabetes 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
Note: This information is of a general nature only and should not be substituted for medical advice or used to alter medical therapy. Please see the advice of your doctor or a qualified health care professional who can provide advice based on an individual basis. For more information on Diabetes please visit Diabetes Australia’s website.
How can exercise help Diabetes?
Exercise is a major management tool for all forms of Diabetes. Exercise has the exact same affect of insulin, in that it helps reduce blood glucose levels for extended periods of time. As our body requires energy to perform physical activity, the body utilises glucose from the bloodstream as energy which in turn, reduces glucose levels. Exercise does not have to be vigorous, a simple combination of cardiovascular and strength training is most recommended for individuals with Diabetes.
How can exercise physiology help?
At Hoys Allied Health + Wellness, our team of accredited exercise physiologists are equipped to develop individualised exercise and lifestyle programs to help best manage all forms of diabetes. A number of options are available including one on one programming or group exercise. If your GP has a care plan already organised for management of Diabetes, they can refer you and services can be claimed under Medicare. We also run the Diabetes NSW Beat It program, which is a free 8-week exercise and lifestyle program. For any questions please feel free to get in touch with Hoys Allied Health + Wellness over the phone 6652 7355.
For any questions please feel free to get in touch with Hoys Allied Health + Wellness over the phone 6652 7355.