Managing Your Diabetes
Our bodies work properly at a certain range of sugar (glucose) in the bloodstream. The hormone insulin secreted by the pancreas promotes the uptake of glucose from the bloodstream into the tissues so it can be used for energy. Diabetes is the name of the condition where the blood glucose level consistently runs too high and has potential long term complications that can affect the kidneys, eyes, heart, blood vessels and nerves.
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Type 1 & Type 2 diabetes
Many people tend to group people with this endocrine (the system that secretes insulin) disorder together, but in fact, there are different types of diabetes. There is type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes depending whether the blood glucose problem is caused by insulin deficiency (type 1) or insulin resistance (type 2).
Type 1 diabetes is much less common than type 2 diabetes and typically affects younger individuals. This insulin deficiency means there is not enough insulin being made by the pancreas due to a malfunction of the insulin producing cells. It is unknown why this develops though there is a genetic tendency and sometimes it follows a viral infection in genetically prone people. To stay alive, people with type 1 diabetes depend on insulin injections every day and they must test their blood glucose levels several times daily and structure their daily eating plan.
Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes, affecting 85-90% of all people with diabetes. While it usually affects older adults, more young people, even children, are getting type 2 diabetes. This insulin resistance occurs when there is plenty of insulin made by the pancreas but the cells of the body are resistant to its action which results in the blood glucose being too high. Although there is a strong genetic predisposition, the risk is greatly increased when associated with lifestyle factors such as high blood pressure, overweight or obesity, insufficient physical activity, poor diet and the classic ‘apple shape’ body where extra weight is carried around the waist. Type 2 diabetes can often be managed with healthy eating and regular physical activity however, many will also need tablets or even insulin.
Our Accredited Practising Dietitians can help you understand the dietary and lifestyle factors you can make to improve your health. We also understand that some people need more structure, focus and discipline, particularly to achieve weight loss. That’s why we recommend Weight Management suggested program, a commitment to consultations to help you to address short term problems and get you started on your way to long term success.
Gestational diabetes is diagnosed when higher than normal blood glucose levels first appear during pregnancy. From 3-8% of pregnant women will develop gestational diabetes around the 24th to 28th week of pregnancy, however, some may be earlier. While maternal blood glucose levels usually return to normal after the birth of the baby, there is a known increased risk for type 2 diabetes in the mother in the future and your child may also be at risk of developing type 2 diabetes later in life.
When a woman is diagnosed with gestational diabetes by her doctor, the next step is to make an appointment with a dietitian Gestational Diabetes Session to help you understand the complexities your condition.