WHAT IS DIABETES?
Diabetes is a serious permanent condition that can be damaging to the body. The disease means that blood glucose (sugar) levels build up too high in the body, because insulin is not working well or is not being produced any more. Insulin is a natural hormone that the body needs to absorb glucose for energy. If blood glucose levels are high most of the time, areas of the body that may be damaged include the nerves and blood vessels.
There are two main types of diabetes:
Type I diabetes comes from the body no longer being able to make insulin. It used to be called juvenile onset diabetes.
Type 2 diabetes comes from the insulin not working as efficiently as it used to or not making enough insulin. This is the most common type of diabetes, very often caused by being overweight and not active enough; it is commonly referred to as adult-onset diabetes.
The data presented above shows that the burden of diabetes is greater for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people than it is for other Australians. For all Australians, developing diabetes later in life is more likely to occur for those who lead an inactive lifestyle, and are overweight or obese. Eating a healthy diet and exercising every day will reduce the risk of developing diabetes.
This page last updated 8 April 2009