Diabetes is a condition where the body cant use glucose properly. The cause of diabetes is unknown - you cant catch it but it can run in families. There are two types of diabetes - Insulin Dependent Diabetes (IDDM) and Non-Insulin Dependent Diabetes (NIDDM). People who have diabetes need to pay special attention to exercise and their diet. They may also need tablets and/or insulin. Treatment is lifelong, as diabetes cant be cured. Insulin Dependent Diabetes is also called Juvenile-Onset or Type I diabetes. Non-Insulin Dependent Diabetes is also called Mature-Onset or Type II diabetes. Foods you eat that contain fat or sugar are changed into glucose and pass into your blood. Your pancreas produces insulin, which helps get glucose into the cells of the body where it is used as a source of energy. Without insulin, glucose cant enter the bodys cells so it builds up in the blood. If you have diabetes, either your pancreas isnt making enough insulin or the insulin isnt working properly. IMPORTANT: Most diabetes develops in people who are over 40. People often have diabetes for some time before it is detected. You may be at risk if three or more of the following describe you. 1. You are over 40 years. 2. You are overweight. 3. Someone in your family has diabetes. 4. You do not get regular exercise 5. See your doctor for an annual check up and a blood glucose test. RISKS: Diabetes can cause damage to blood vessels and nerves if it is undiagnosed or not controlled. This may affect; 1. Eyesight. 2. Kidneys. 3. Heart and blood flow. 4. Feet. 5. Your ability to fight skin kidney and other infections. SIGNS & SYMPTOMS: 1. Going to the toilet often. 2. Drinking a lot of liquid. 3. Tiredness, loss of energy. 4. Sickly sweet smelling breath. 5. A lot of skin (e.g. Boils) genital (e.g. Thrush), nail or urinary tract (e.g. Cystitis) infections. 6. Unexplained weight loss. 7. Blurred or fuzzy vision (Wounds that heal slowly. People with non-insulin Dependent Diabetes may have some or none of these symptoms. Recognizing symptoms early and controlling diabetes by keeping blood glucose levels as close to normal as possible (3-8 mmol/L) will lower the risk of problems. Good control of diabetes is essential for several months before, and during pregnancy, to prevent problems with the baby. MANAGING DIABETES; The aim for all people with diabetes is the same - good control of blood glucose levels. A management plan is worked out between you, your doctor, and pharmacist dietitian and diabetes educator. 1. The plan will help you keep a balance between diet, exercise and medicine (insulin and/or tablets). 2. Most people monitor this balance at home by measuring blood glucose levels (some people use urine tests). 3. Other medicines can sometimes upset this balance, so always check with your doctor and pharmacist before taking anything new. SELF CARE 1. Learn all you can about diabetes and how to manage it. 2. Monitor blood or urine glucose levels regularly. 3. Follow your diet and medicine plan. 4. Eat regular healthy meals. Resist food high in fat or sugar (e.g. fried food, alcohol). Dont skip meals. 5. Control your weight. 6. Get regular exercise. 7. Keep your blood cholesterol levels below 5.5mmol/ 8. Wear a Medic Alert bracelet. 9. Take special care of your feet consult a podiatrist. Wear shoes that fit well. 10. Have an eye examination every 2 years. 11. Learn to relax - Join Diabetes Australia. 12. Dont smoke ? HYPOGLYCAEMIA:LOW blood Sugar. Hypoglycemia (hypo) occurs if the level of glucose in the blood is too low. The warning signs are; 1. Sweaty, cold, clammy skin. 2. Double or blurred vision. 3. Shallow breathing. 4. Weak or dizzy. 5. Falling blood glucose levels. If you have any of these signs you need to; 1. Take a ready source of glucose Eat fruit or sandwiches after the glucose. 2. Check your blood glucose levels. If someone with diabetes is unconscious dont give him or her anything by mouth. Turn them on their side and follow first aid procedures. Get medical help.