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Diabetes is a condition where blood glucose levels become too high.

Diabetes is a condition where blood glucose levels become too high.
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Diabetes is the name given to a group of different conditions in which the body cannot maintain healthy levels of glucose (a type of sugar) in the blood.

Glucose builds up in the blood leading to high blood glucose levels which cause the health problems linked to diabetes.

The main symptoms are:

  • feeling very thirsty
  • urinating frequently, particularly at night
  • feeling very tired
  • weight loss and loss of muscle bulk.

Check your symptoms with healthdirect’s Symptom Checker to get advice on when to seek medical attention, or if you are concerned you may have diabetes see your doctor.

The amount of sugar in the blood is usually controlled by a hormone called 'insulin' which is produced by the pancreas (a gland behind the stomach).

In type 1 diabetes, the body's immune system attacks and destroys the cells in the pancreas that produce insulin, and usually develops before the age of 40. It is less common than type 2 diabetes.

Type 2 diabetes is where the body does not produce enough insulin, or the body's cells do not react to insulin. It is often associated with obesity and is more common in older people.

During pregnancy, some women have such high levels of blood glucose their body is unable to produce enough insulin to absorb it all. This is known as 'gestational diabetes'.

Diabetes Australia provides more information on diabetes on their website, or by calling their information line on 1300 136 588.

If you are concerned you may have diabetes please see your doctor.

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Last reviewed: August 2016

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What is diabetes?

Diabetes Australia was established in 1984 and is the national body for people affected by all types of diabetes and those at risk.

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Diabetes is a disease where there is too much glucose (sugar) in the blood.

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What is gestational diabetes?

A pregnant woman's body needs 2-3 times more insulin to keep her blood glucose levels normal. Gestational diabetes develops if her pancreas can't produce the extra insulin needed, causing above-normal blood glucose (sugar). Gestational diabetes is treated with diet & exercise.

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What causes type 2 diabetes?

Type 2 diabetes is caused by genetic & lifestyle factors. It is more likely if you are overweight, have high blood pressure, do little exercise & have a high fat, high sugar diet. Read more.

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What is diabetes? When a food containing carbohydrate is eaten, your body digests the carbohydrate into sugar (called glucose), which can then be used as energy by the cells in your body. Diabetes is a condition where your body cant properly control the amount of glucose in your blood.

Read more on Nutrition Australia website

What is type 1 diabetes?

Diabetes is a condition where the body doesn't properly control blood sugar (glucose) levels. Read what happens in type 1 diabetes and about other types of diabetes and learn about what insulin is and how it works.

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Question: I have just been diagnosed with gestational diabetes. What does this mean?

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What are the symptoms of type 2 diabetes?

Symptoms of type 2 diabetes include urinating frequently, dehydration, drinking fluids excessively & weight gain. Find out more about the symptoms & how to know if you have diabetes.

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