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Diabetes is a condition where the body is unable to process blood glucose (blood sugar) effectively. An organ known as the pancreas produces insulin, a hormone that works to convert blood glucose into energy for the body. In diabetes either insufficient insulin is produced or it does not work efficiently.

There are different types of diabetes:

Type 1 diabetes

Type 1 diabetes, otherwise known as insulin-dependent or juvenile diabetes occurs when the insulin producing cells in the pancreas are destroyed by the immune system. Without a natural source of insulin, people with Type 1 diabetes require daily insulin injections. Type 1 diabetes cannot be prevented or reversed.  About 10 – 15% of Australians with diabetes have Type 1 diabetes.

Type 2 diabetes

Type 2 diabetes affects about 85% - 90% of people with diabetes. The pancreas produces inadequate insulin or the cells of the body don’t respond adequately to insulin. As a consequence blood glucose can rise to levels well above the healthy range. In the early stages Type 2 diabetes may be managed with diet and exercise. The condition does tend to progress over time and eventually tablets and later insulin injections may be required. more...

Gestational diabetes

Gestational diabetes occurs in 3% to 8% of pregnancies in Australia and usually goes away after the birth. It is important that this condition is managed to ensure the health of the baby and to decrease the risk of the mother developing Type 2 diabetes later in life.


Pre-diabetes is seen in people who have raised blood glucose levels which are not high enough to be classified as diabetes.  People with pre-diabetes are at 10 to 20 times the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes than the general population and this can be seen as an early warning indicator to make lifestyle changes before Type 2 diabetes develops.

Improving your diet and increasing physical activity can bring blood glucose levels into a healthy range and prevent the onset of Type 2 diabetes.

For more information on diabetes visit these sites Diabetes Australia or Health Direct.

Signs of diabetes

Signs of diabetes can develop very gradually and may sometimes thought to be normal signs of aging. Occasionally people with diabetes initially have no symptoms at all. Common signs and symptoms of diabetes include:

  • Going to the toilet more often, especially noticed at night
  • Dry mouth, feeling dehydrated
  • Being more thirsty than usual more...

Are you at risk?

There are a number of factors that increase your risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. Try the quick diabetes risk assessment tool from Diabetes Australia to assess your risk of developing diabetes in the next 5 years. Risk factors include:

  •  Have a family history of diabetes    
  • Are over the age of 40 Are overweight or obese (with a body mass index of 25 or greater). Not sure of your BMI? Try this BMI calculator  from the Heart Foundation.
  • Have high blood pressure more...

Diagnosis of diabetes

Prior to the diagnosis of diabetes a number of vague symptoms such as fatigue, increased thirst and urination, weight loss or blurry vision may be experienced. Untreated, the high levels of glucose in the blood can lead to serious complications including heart disease, stroke, vison loss, kidney failure and limb amputation. If you have any concerns or suspect a medical problem, please speak to your health care provider immediately. more...


The HbA1c (or glycated haemoglobin) test is also used for monitoring blood glucose levels for the management of diabetes. The test measures your blood glucose levels over the previous 2 – 3 months. more...

Who should not use this test

HbA1c tests should not be used for diagnosis of diabetes in the following cases:

  • Children and young people
  • Women who are currently pregnant or have been pregnant in the past 2 months
  • People with suspected type 1 diabetes
  • People with short duration of diabetic symptoms
  • People at high risk of diabetes who are acutely ill
  • People taking drugs that may cause a rapid rise in glucose, such as corticosteroids or antipsychotic drugs (≤ 2 months)
  • People with acute pancreatic damage or who have undergone pancreatic surgery
  • People with kidney failure
  • People with HIV infection

More Information:

More information on diabetes can be obtained from the following groups