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Diabetes is the fastest growing chronic condition, with over 280 Australians being diagnosed with it each and every day. For the 1.7 million living with the disease, there are an estimated 2.2 million actually affected by it –family members and carers. In the high risk population (that is, those with pre-diabetes), 58% can be prevented from developing type 2 diabetes. This may be through diet and lifestyle changes, and diabetes awareness.

World Diabetes DayThere are three different kinds of diabetes.

- Type 1 is an auto-immune disease and cannot be prevented. It affects mainly children and, sadly, there is no cure at the present moment. The only treatment is a healthy diet, exercise, and daily insulin injections. Type 1 diabetes occurs when the pancreas’ cells that manufacture insulin are damaged by the body’s own immune system. This means the pancreas cannot make insulin, hence the injections.

- Type 2 diabetes is a ‘lifestyle disease’, meaning it’s usually brought about by an unhealthy diet and lack of exercise. The pancreas does not manufacture enough insulin, or what it does make is not effective, or the body does not react to the insulin well enough. There are predisposing factors (such as a family history) and complications (kidney damage or blindness). It can be prevented and in some cases, managed to the point where its affect on the body is greatly reduced.

- Gestational diabetes is a condition that occurs in pregnancy – in fact, 3-8% of pregnant women will develop gestational diabetes, with this usually occurring between 24 and 28 weeks of pregnancy. Blood glucose levels are abnormally high, and in some cases, insulin may be required. In most cases, it can be controlled with diet. There are predisposing factors, and there can be complications, especially if it is not controlled.

Diabetes symptoms are varied, but include passing urine frequently, being hungry all the time, being thirsty a lot, losing weight without really trying and fatigue. Diabetes prevention in some cases can be as simple as eating healthily, watching what you do eat and getting enough exercise.

World Diabetes Day is on November 14th, and aims to raise awareness about the condition. November 14th is the birth date of one of the inventors of insulin, Frederick Banting (Charles Best was co-inventor). World Diabetes Day was created by the International Diabetes Federation and the World Health Organisation in 1991, and in 2007 it became an official United Nations Day. The theme for World Diabetes Day 2014-2016 is Healthy Living and Diabetes. The day is celebrated internationally and offers activities to do with raising awareness, and keeping diabetes in the minds of people all year round.

If you have some troubling symptoms, such as excessive thirst, hunger, urination or tiredness, then perhaps you should see a doctor. But don’t wait until morning, when you’ve likely forgotten, to make an appointment. Hop online any time of the day or night and book with 1stAvailable. It’s a free service and its available 24/7.

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