Diabetes is Australia’s fastest growing chronic disease. Nearly 1.2 million have been diagnosed, however it is estimated that there are a further 500,000 people with diabetes who have yet to be diagnosed.
In Australia 280 people develop diabetes every day (updated October 2012).
It is thought that there are 3.2 million Australians with diabetes and pre-diabetes. As the 6th leading cause of death, it is critical we take action to diagnose and treat this largely preventable disease.
To metabolise sugar properly, we need to absorb glucose (sugar) from the bowel to the blood and then in to our cells in the muscles, brain and liver etc. A hormone called insulin is essential for the transfer of glucose from the blood to the cells of the body.
In people with diabetes, insulin may not be working properly, or is no longer produced or not produced in sufficient amounts by the body.
So when people with diabetes eat glucose, which is in foods such as breads, cereals, fruit and starchy vegetables, legumes, milk, yoghurt and sweets, it can’t be absorbed from the blood to the cells. Instead of being turned into energy to power the cells, the glucose stays in the blood. This is why blood glucose levels are higher in people with diabetes
To prevent complications we need to prevent raised blood sugars through dietary and lifestyle modifications, as well as using medications.