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Heading - Types of diabetes

Border - T1

Main - Type 1

Also known as juvenile or insulin-dependent and is characterised by no level of insulin production from the pancreas. Here, cells in the body are destroyed by the body’s autoimmune defence mechanism meaning the individual is reliant on daily injections or continuous insulin pump fusions to regulate glucose levels and live. Frequent glucose monitoring is needed to check the balance of insulin and food intake.

The condition occurs across 140,000 individuals in the Australian population, has the most abrupt onset and can occur at any age. It develops predominantly in younger children or those entering early adulthood. TRUEfact that Australian children aged 0-14 years have the 6th highest incidence of type 1 in the world.

Typically diagnosis is immediate after insulin resistance in the pancreas occurs. People with type 1 are diagnosed within a very short time span. If left untreated, the person risks induction into a diabetic coma. Some warning signs include,

  • Rapid weight loss
  • Excessive thirst, urination and tiredness
  • Fatigue and blurred visions
  • Nausea

Border - T2

Main - Type 2

Is by far the most common form where through time a deficiency of insulin develops. The body has trouble keeping glucose levels at the norm as the pancreas does not effectively produce or use insulin. Glucose levels build up in the blood provoking complications or other illnesses if not controlled. Many people at risk are unaware they have type 2 diabetes.

Surrounding lifestyle or genetic factors, this form usually remains masked for a long period of time or until the person reaches late adulthood. From here on, the condition requires regulation via prescribed oral medication and/or insulin, exercise and a controlled diet. The progressive condition comprises of 85% of the Australian population being most common in the middle-aged to older demographic.

Aside from lifestyle or genetic dispositions, the onset of type 2 can be reduced through early detection. Most remain unnoticed but it is important to identify and treat the common symptoms of,

  • Obesity and sedentary lifestyles
  • Poor diets
  • Excessive thirst, urination and tiredness
  • Fatigue and blurred visions
  • Nausea

Main - GDM

Higher than normal blood glucose levels developing during pregnancies. This usually disappears after the child’s birth but can later progress into type 2 diabetes for both the mother and child later in life. The cause of the condition is due to hormonal production by the placenta blocking the action of insulin. Adequately managed sugar levels will ensure safe pregnancies and a healthy newborn baby. 

In Australia, approximately 5-10% of pregnancies are affected by the condition. On a cultural basis, GDM is most prone to mothers coming from certain ethnic groups, the indigenous as well as those with a family history.

There is no real rise of symptoms for gestational mothers – the most common course of diagnosis is via an oral glucose tolerance test which will indicate how well the body is responding to insulin. After developing GDM, the mother and child are at risk of becoming a type 2 as well as developing complications as a result. Careful post pregnancy physical activity, a healthy diet and regular glucose diagnostic tests will reduce the onset of diabetes in the future for both.

Border - GDM

Main - Prediabetes

Individuals who sit on the borderline are labelled as having pre-diabetes. The condition occurs when blood glucose levels are slightly higher than normal but not elevated enough to be classified as a type 2. There is great risk of future diabetes or experiencing adverse reactions to the condition so must be treated carefully. At this intermediate stage, one will have either (or both) impaired fasting glucose (IFG) or impaired glucose tolerance (IGT), 

Impaired fasting glucose (IFG)Higher than normal blood glucose levels occurring after a period of fasting. It is raised beyond the norm but not so high to be classified as having full diabetes.
Impaired glucose tolerance (IGT)Elevated blood glucose levels after consuming and digesting a meal. This category more so is a very mild form of type 2 – being associated with lifestyle, obesity and age interventions.

The condition affects roughly 2 million Australians. It is estimated that for every four already diagnosed, one newly diagnosed case (formerly pre-diabetic) occurs.

There is no definitive symptom for pre-diabetic diagnosis. The individual’s diagnosis is generally made through an oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT). Warning signs are predominantly driven by the type 2 signs of unhealthy eating and living sedentary lifestyles. Changing to a balanced diet together with regular physical activity and careful blood sugar monitoring will reduce the progression to being a full diabetic.

Border - Prediabetes

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