There are three main types of diabetes:
Diabetes type 1
Type 1 diabetes is an auto-immune disease where the body's immune system attacks the insulin-producing cells of the pancreas. People with type 1 diabetes cannot produce insulin and require lifelong insulin replacement for survival.
The disease can occur at any age, although it mostly occurs in children and young adults. Type 1 diabetes is sometimes referred to as 'juvenile onset diabetes' or 'insulin dependent diabetes'.
Diabetes type 2
People with type 2 diabetes may be able to manage their condition through lifestyle changes; however, diabetes medications or insulin replacement may also be required to control blood sugar levels.
Type 2 diabetes occurs mostly in people aged over 40 years old; however, the disease is also becoming increasingly prevalent in younger age groups.
Gestational diabetes occurs during pregnancy. The condition usually disappears once the baby is born; however, a history of gestational diabetes increases a woman's risk of developing type 2 diabetes later in life.
The condition may be managed through eating a healthy diet, and physical activity, although diabetes medication, including insulin, may also be required to manage blood sugar levels.
While the majority of people with diabetes do not need finger prick monitoring, those taking insulin or in other special circumstances may need to do so. The Australian College of Nursing recommends people with diabetes who need to monitor their glucose levels self-manage their own blood glucose monitoring whenever possible. For more information, speak to your doctor or visit the Choosing Wisely Australia website.
If you are concerned you may have diabetes please see your doctor.
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Last reviewed: July 2018